Yangchen C Rinzin

Going by the number, 61,235 people were screened at 54 flu clinics across the country since March.

Flu clinics are equipped with rapid antigen testing facilities that test any suspected Covid-19 cases.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, during the press briefing yesterday, said that not many people with symptoms visited flu clinics.

She said that if people visit flu clinics and many people tested negative at the same time, this would have been a good indication. However, clinics receive only a few people, sometimes only three cases in a day.

“The turnout at the clinic is meagre despite awareness. Those who come at the clinic are usually those who had flu-like symptoms from earlier but did not visit the clinic immediately.”

Lyonpo urged the people to visit flu clinic if they have any flu-like symptoms to avail testing service and not to take symptoms lightly. “If a person visits the clinic immediately, the virus could be detected early and would stop from spreading. So, please visit the clinic to get yourself tested if you are symptomatic.”

Lyonpo explained that if more symptomatic people visit clinics, get tested for Covid-19 and if test results turn out negative and flu clinics are fully utilised, there would not be a requirement for mass screening in the community.

“For instance, if at least 20 percent of the 100,000 population in Thimphu visited the flu clinic and all have tested negative then we can be confident that there is no virus in the local community,” Lyonpo said. “But when the only handful of people visit flu clinic it is difficult to come to a conclusion to say whether the virus is spread or not,” she said.

Lyonpo said that a person with severe flu-like symptoms or symptoms related to Covid-19, the health ministry would provide testing service at doorstep. To avail this service a person should call 2121/6060/112.

Meanwhile, with an increase in the number of testing along the southern dzongkhags, quarantine facilities, mass testing, and mandatory testing at the flu clinics, Lyonpo said that there were enough testing kits and personal protective equipment.

Lyonpo added that the ministry was also exploring the possibilities to procure saliva-testing kits, which would be convenient to use.

A total of 122,546 have been tested for Covid-19 to date. There are 252 confirmed positive cases as of yesterday, of which, 182 have recovered.

Six new cases were detected yesterday—two men from Phuentsholing and three Royal Bhutan Police personnel from Gelephu. All the cases were from facility quarantine.

However, a police tested positive from Samdrupjongkhar during the mass screening.