Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Considering the risk factor, Norgaygang (Bara) gewog in Samtse wants to quarantine people returning from Phuentsholing, a red zone.

The gewog has submitted a letter to the Samtse’s dzongkhag administration to quarantine the returnees from the red zone.

The gewog held a meeting about this on August 26—after two villagers returned from Phuentsholing on August 25.

Norgaygang Gup Rinchen Dorji said that seven-day home quarantine rule did not make sense in the villages.

“Many people started calling, worried. What if they had the virus and go out?” the gup asked, stressing on the nature of the Covid-19 virus which can show even after 14 days.

“Who will then be accountable?”

Rinchen Dorji said that if someone brought the virus and spread in the communities, government would have difficult time to reach to all the places on time due to lack of proper roads.

“All this is for the safety of all,” he said. Samtse’s dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) thrizin, Nima Dukpa, said that home quarantine was challenging.

Dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said the gewog’s intention was good.

“Norgaygang is the farthest and the most remote gewog and the concern expressed is correct. It is only natural that people are worried,” he said.

“They are putting up some measures to ensure people coming in are quarantined.”

Dzongdag, however, said that the government might not bear the expenditure because there is no directive so far from the government.

Hundreds of people are going to Samtse from Thimphu. At least nine buses dropped people to different gewogs of Samtse as of yesterday.

Rinchen Dorji also said that the government must send people to their homes at a go.

People got homes late in the night and villagers and gewog officials coming to get them time and again means expenditure. And they must be sent home sooner because many might have exhausted their financial ability, he added.

People have to test for Covid-19 in Phuentsholing prior to their movement to their respective places. Only then they are allowed to go as per the registration list.

The PMO’s Facebook page on August 30 announced that people who are stranded in Phuentsholing, given the increasing number of cases, would be released only after tests to avoid any chance of transmission.

“For those who would like to travel to Phuentsholing, we are trying to work your way in, wary of the fact that you are opting to enter a red zone,” the statement said.

As of August 26, a total of 1,403 people had registered to move out of Phuentsholing. However, not all are considered stranded except for 150.

Of the total, 414 vehicles left the town; 95 vehicles are stranded.