Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing residents are waiting what the next phase of the lockdown relaxation would be like. 

However, the bordering town has seen Covid-19 positive cases from the community even after the mass screening completed on May 2.

Just yesterday, a building in a street of lower market was cordoned off after a person tested positive. Before yesterday’s case, the town had also seen a positive case on May 6.

On May 5, a controlled reopening started in Phuentsholing. People are allowed to walk within their respective zones until 7pm.

However, not many people have come out in the open yet.

A resident, Sonam Penjor, said that lockdown was a good measure taken by government.

“Looking at the capacity of our medical team, it would not be possible to handle the situation in case there is a same outbreak as in India,” he said. “I am sure it has cut down community transmission by almost 95 percent but we have to be more careful and protect ourselves and others.”

Another resident, Tashi Wangchuk, said that if the lockdown continues, it should be done only in the area that are infected, while offices and shops in other places should open as usual.

“If the lockdown opens, we should all follow mandatory precautions to protect ourselves against not only Covid-19 but other diseases too,” he said.

While many expect the situation across the region and the third lockdown would change people’s mentality, only time will tell, some feel. Before the lockdown on April 16, many people had become complacent and did not follow Covid protocols such as wearing masks and maintaining distances.

Although a lockdown can be difficult, a resident, Sushil Sharma, said people must look at the larger picture.

“It was a case of community transmission. We have elderlies at home,” he said, adding people were safe inside their houses. “Younger people must have faced tough time staying home for a long time without any work to do.”

Sushil said the lockdown was a strong reminder why people must be cautious than ever this time. “I couldn’t even work. I was not able to visit places of my choice. I cannot afford to have another lockdown. We all should feel the same.”

Among the people are also a few who are questioning the source of the virus this time.

The third lockdown in Phuentsholing was announced after a 10-year-old student tested positive on April 16. Following this, Phuentsholing reported about 33 positive cases from the community. Community transmission cases were detected even during the ongoing mass screening.

Several De-Suups and policemen have also tested positive from the quarantine duty.

Meanwhile Samtse dzongkhag administration has lifted Tading gewog as the buffer zone. However, the inter-dzongkhag movement of people and vehicles is still not allowed.