Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

It has been 21 days without a single Covid-19 positive case from the community in Phuentsholing. Before the complete relaxation of restrictions on August 10, Phuentsholing was under lockdown for nearly four months after a boy tested positive on April 17.

Even after the relaxation, positive cases were reported from the medical supply depot on August 12. Many feared another lockdown. However, relaxations continued after 24 hours of the lockdown. Since then, not a single positive case has been detected in the town.

On September 2, more than 500 samples were collected from enhanced surveillance areas, flu clinics, communities, and quarantine facilities in Phuentsholing. Not a single person tested positive.

On September 1, a total of 301 samples were collected and all tested negative. Further, the samples received from other southern dzongkhags also tested negative.

In addition, all the active cases in the isolation ward of Covid-19 hospital turned negative and the ward was empty as of yesterday.

Meanwhile, more people were on the streets yesterday. However, they appeared cautious.

A businessman, Hem Kumar Ghalley said that even health experts weren’t able to explain many issues related to the Covid-19 transmission.

“The only information we get is what the government and the health ministry share,” he said. 

“Having no community transmission in 21 days is good news. But we cannot set ourselves free and celebrate.”

He said that the recent two cases—of a 39-year-old man and 14-year-old testing positive in quarantine centres in Thimphu were enough reason for people to be careful.

“Maybe there is a positive case within the community. We never know,” another resident said, adding that the best would be to comply with the protocols.

A resident, Nim Dorji said that the primary focus must be on the high-risk areas such as the containment zones, quarantine facilities, and warehouses. He said that such areas should be taken care of with strict Standard Operating Procedures.

Another resident, KB Tamang from Rinchending said that Phuentsholing could improve further if residents adhere to the rules. 

“There is every possibility,” he said.

If there are not many people in the town today, KB Tamang said that it was because many are under containment zones like industries in Pasakha, College of Science and Technology, Mini Dry Port, and few other areas are under containment zone.

The Southern Covid-19 Task Force is also working on various sensitisation programmes in bringing public ownership in combating the virus. A sensitisation programme for front liners such as de-suups and RBP personnel is underway. A similar programme was organised for residents in the town, including the business community.

Edited by Tshering Palden