The results from the mass testing in Trashigang town and neighbouring areas would decide the lockdown relaxation in the dzongkhag.  The mass screening started on June 2.

As of yesterday, health officials in Trashigang collected 3,176 samples from the town area and other neighbouring clusters in the last three days. Of the 1,863 samples collected on the first two days, 1,055 tested negative and the results of 808 samples were awaited as of last night.

Trashigang Dzongdag Chekey Gyeltshen, who is also the incident commander of the dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce, said that the results of the mass testing would determine when the lockdown relaxation measures could begin.

He said that while the residents have complied with the lockdown protocols, they were worried about being infected.

“Everything has been good so far. We are doing mass screening so that no virus is left in the community,” he said. “As soon as the result comes out, we will submit it to technical advisory group to decide the lockdown relaxation.”

Trashigang went into a complete lockdown on May 21 after Covid-19 cases emerged in Merak gewog. This is the second mass screening for those residing in cluster areas.

Except for Merak gewog, he said, other 14 gewogs have not reported any case of Covid-19 till now. “If all results come good from the mass screening, except for Merak and Sakteng, the lockdown restrictions in other gewogs will be relaxed.”

According to dzongdag, people are cooperative and none of them have left the dzongkhag. “If positive cases are detected from one place, lockdown will be imposed in that particular place.”

Thrimshing Drungpa Ngawang Norbu said that there were no reports of people breaching the lockdown protocols in the drungkhag. He said that contrary to the first and second lockdowns, residents have stocked essential food items and are aware of their duties.

Meanwhile, 12 infected people are isolated at their pastureland and continuing their regular work. Sakteng Drungpa, Sangay Dawa said that none of the positive cases have reported any severe symptoms so far.  “We are in touch with all patients. All are asymptomatic and are in good health.”

He said that people are aware of the virus and all are isolated from the rest of the herders.

Trashigang health teams consisting of a doctor, two nurses and assistants each including three security guards are at the base camp. All health services are catered from the camp established at Toedrong, which is about six hours walk from Merak village.

By Neten Dorji | Trashigang

Edited by Tshering Palden