One detected positive from mobile flu clinic, considered community by health ministry

Younten Tshedup 

Just as the capital city, a red zone, is seeing improvement in terms of not reporting cases from the community, a shopkeeper tested positive for the virus from a mobile flu clinic in Lungtenphu yesterday.

As a part of the health ministry’s protocol, all shopkeepers are tested for Covid-19 before allowing them to open their business. The man tested positive during one such arrangement yesterday.

Thimphu was running on a five-day stretch without any positive cases from the community as of yesterday. As per the current understanding, the city has to record zero positive cases from the community for 14 straight days to consider any relaxation of the lowdown. This means that it has to start all over again and achieve the tedious 14-day clean sheet.

Also, on January 12, a frontliner who had come for a test prior to his/her deployment, tested positive for the virus. The health ministry as of last night had not clarified whether the case was considered a community detection or if the individual had prior contacts with someone infected.

Lack of clarity on how Thimphu continues to see cases from the community despite the lockdown has left many jumping to conclusions.

Are people not following the lockdown protocol strictly? Has the ministry failed to trace all the contacts of the positive cases, or is this a nature (varying incubation period) of the virus that experts have failed to understand?    

Many were left confused after Sowai Lyonpo (health minister) in her  briefing to the nation last night said that a shopkeeper had tested positive in Lungtenphu. This is because no details were provided. The minister did not explain how he (shopkeeper) contracted the disease nor did she provide details about his movements. Many were asking if he was at home this entire lockdown. Is he related to any of the positive cases detected earlier?

Many took to social media to ask these questions. But there was no specific clarification from the ministry. Kuensel learnt that a meeting was underway at the health ministry last night. Of the several agendas, one was on the detection-classification of the emerging cases.

Meanwhile, since the detection of the index case on December 20, a total of 372 Bhutanese has contracted the virus so far. Of the total, 45 of them have been declared recovered as of yesterday.

Kuensel could not verify independently as officials were not available for comments on the two cases that are alleged to be detected from the community.