Nima Wangdi

Following some people sending voice messages from the isolation centres about the Omicron variant being mild, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reminded people to refrain from circulating such messages among the public.

In a recent incident, a woman sent a voice message from one of the isolation centres saying that Omicron is mild and there is nothing to worry about.

In her message, she said Omicron was just like a common flu. She said that even children recover from the fever in about two days.

The MoH said that people sending these kinds of messages were those who had milder symptoms, but the case is not the same for everyone. “People must refrain from circulating such messages as it could induce complacency and carelessness among the public.”

“With the current rate of infection, more people in the vulnerable population will be infected if we are complacent. This would lead to an overwhelming of our limited intensive care units and the small health workforce.”

The appeal also stated that long Covid and the complications it could cause are still evolving. Long Covid has also caused serious health complications in the individuals who have recovered from the virus.

In a recent panel discussion on national television, National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) member Dr Sithar Dorjee said there are four strains of Omicron circulating, and what we have is BA.2, which is more infectious than BA.1.

“The UK and the US had BA.1 but they still had a difficult time,” he said. “People say Omicron and cold are the same. They are different because Omicron kills,” he said.

Dr Sithar also said if more people start coming to hospitals with the virus, it could overburden the health facilities and then lead to death. “Phuentsholing and Gelephu are already burdened.”

Technical Advisory Group member Dr. Tshokey also said people should not think that Omicron is a mild strain. “Three people who tested positive for Omicron are suffering from serious symptoms in Phuentsholing.”

Sowa Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo also said that the daily health care services in the hospitals like in Phuentsholing and Gelephu have already started to be hampered, as they have to focus on Covid every day. She said we can stop the spread of the virus if each one of us takes our own responsibilities seriously.

The NITAG member and the head of the Royal Centre for Disease Control, Dr Sonam Wangchuk, said few people are suffering with serious symptoms due to good vaccine coverage in the country, but the vulnerable population is still at risk.