Nima | Gelephu

Gelephu drungkhag court conducted an independent hearing for officials alleged of providing the 37-year-old businesswoman a special permit to travel to Thimphu yesterday.

The businesswoman, who travelled with a special permit on November 6 last year, was quarantined in Thimphu after officials found out she did not stay in quarantine. Gelephu police later detained her and charged her to court.

Health officials provided her with quarantine and Covid-19 test report and de-suung coordinator of the dzongkhag gave her emergency travel permit.

Officials justified before the court that there was no proper procedure in place for issuing travel permits then.

Gelephu’s quarantine and surveillance team head, Dr Choeda Gyeltshen, submitted before the court that the woman approached them saying she got approval from the incident commander (IC), who is the Sarpang dzongdag, to travel to Thimphu.

“Since she said she had the approval from IC, I called my colleague at the flu clinic to test the woman for Covid-19,” he said. “I never thought she would lie.”

He said he was heading a medical team involved in community surveillance and testing for the Covid-19 in the dzongkhag that time.

Dr Choeda Gyeltshen submitted to the court that the approval for the emergency travellers was done verbally then. “There was no written approval as such in place for emergency travels like today.”

He said the incident helped them strengthen the procedure.

The de-suung coordinator, Gyem Gyeltshen, said de-suups facilitated the emergency travels, as the dzongkhag was in short of people those days.

He said that the woman was carrying valid medical documents and a supporting document, which stated that the woman could travel to her destinations and also the Covid-19 test results, he issued the special vehicle permit based on the documents.

“She also showed the supporting documents about her son-in-law being admitted at Lungtenphug hospital.”

The woman refuted her claims on approval from the IC while requesting the Covid-19 test certificates.

She claimed that she travelled to Thimphu carrying valid documents and that her travel to Thimphu did not violate any of the protocols.

Meanwhile, the court will conduct evidence hearing of the case on February 1.