Rumours are rife in Wangduephodrang about Covid-19 positive cases. 

The rumours started making rounds a week ago after few men tested positive on antigen tests and were evacuated to a hotel. It intensified when 14 individuals tested positive on antigen two days ago. 

 All individuals tested negative on the RT-PCR results.

Wangdue dzongdag, Sonam Jamtsho, said people shouldn’t believe the rumours until and unless the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force issues a notification or imposes movement restrictions. 

He said that if people want to clarify anything, they could call the dzongkhag’s hotline number 1197. 

The dzongdag said that antigen positive (false positive) were common as testing was conducted frequently. 

He said that until yesterday, people who tested positive on antigen in the dzongkhag have not crossed the cut-off index (COI) level of six. “Health officials said that if COI crosses 15, then there are chances they have Covid-19).”

He said even those people with common cold tests positive on antigen.

Amid rising Covid-19 cases in Trashigang, Wangdue dzongkhag also conducts tests for all travellers entering Wangdue from the six eastern dzongkhags. 

A flu clinic has been set up at Chuserbo located along the Wangdue-Trongsa highway. 

The dzongkhag further conducts tests for individuals working in saloons, snooker hall, hotels, shops, schools, and corporations. Frontline workers, taxi operators, police, task force members, health staff, and truckers are also tested.

Dzongdag Sonam Jamtsho said that the test conducted weekly covered almost all vulnerable groups in the dzongkhag. 

On May 24, concerns were also raised about workers of Jaiprakash Associates Limited (Jaypee), a construction company with Punatsangchhu II hydroelectric project (PII) testing positive on antigen tests.

Jaypee Group’s project manager, KK Sood, said that earlier six men had tested positive on antigen, but tested negative on RT-PCR.

He said the workers were among the loaders, drivers and site managers who brought materials from Gelephu. “They don’t enter Gelephu. Drivers are changed and materials are brought that way.”

According to the dzongdag, men involved in transporting the materials are tested every week and are kept in self-containment zones. 

Whenever an individual tests positive on antigen tests, they are kept in quarantine facilities identified on the outskirts of Bajo town.

The quarantine structure identified near PII earlier is empty, as the import of workers from India has stopped. 

“We have also made a separate request to the task force that even if they allow the import of workers, they should be quarantined at the point of entry itself rather than endangering three or four dzongkhags on the way,” dzongdag Sonam Jamtsho said.  

By Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Edited by  Tashi Dema