Staff reporter     

The Opposition Party yesterday called on the government to re-strategise Covid-19 management and re-embark on bringing the economy back on track.

The party said it was high time for the government to “rethink and change the way pandemic is managed.”

“The sooner we learn and innovate our Covid-19 strategies and put the wheel of the economy back into running, the better it will be for the nation and people,” a press release said.

Short and effective lockdowns

Although lockdown is the best strategy to contain and combat Covid-19, a prolonged one is injurious to the national economy, private sector and individual citizens, the party said.

“Low income and wage workers are hit the hardest,” the press release said, adding that the lockdowns must be short and effective. “Government should innovate strategies and methods of managing future outbreaks.”

The Opposition pointed out that a comprehensive new management plan based on multi-pronged and integrated mechanisms was a must. Expediting children vaccination, administering mass booster dose, efficient contact tracing, earlier mass screening, revisiting quarantine and isolation mechanisms, changing the lockdown methods with minimal disruptions are the key areas for consideration, what the Opposition thinks could be done.

“Government should otherwise promote sound health protocols at workplaces and let the economy and businesses get back on the wheel.”

Government also must come up with clear and uniformly interpreted, understood and applied procedures for stranded people in all dzongkhags, the press release said.

Streamlining healthcare services

The Opposition said some urgent and critical patients awaiting referrals, operations or treatments have succumbed to death due to delay in medical services during both second and third lockdowns.

Except for the isolation ward in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), the party pointed out there are no separate isolation facilities for patients with chronic comorbidities needing critical treatment in regional and other hospitals.

“Such a state of unpreparedness even after almost two years of the outbreak of the pandemic is unacceptable,” the party said.

“We strongly recommend the Government to review, streamline and prepare the health services throughout the country in keeping with the needs of the changing circumstances imposed by the pandemic and emerging requirements.”

The Opposition Party said the government must also explain to the nation the death of a 34-year old woman, a comorbid patient, which they said was due to logistical and medical negligence; and embrace accountability and put measures to avoid such mishaps in future.

Revival of economy

The Opposition Party said there shouldn’t be any further delay in reviving and putting the economy back on track.

“But the government doesn’t have a clear and concrete plan to revive the economy yet,” the Opposition said. “This is at the least naive, if not irresponsible, and is deeply worrying.”

The Opposition urged the government to formulate a comprehensive economic recovery plan, including specific revival plans for key economic sectors like tourism, hotels and hospitality, construction, industries, SMEs, exports, among others and accord the highest priority to employment generation.