Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Although there is no evidence to prove, many in Phuentsholing allege the Covid-19 positive cases in the bordering town this time must have been brought from the low-risk areas.

Earlier, Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC-19TF) officials had confirmed there was no breach of protocols in the first positive case of a 37-year-old expatriate woman, working at Lucky Restaurant and Bar.

However, officials said it was likely that the woman must have got the virus from an asymptomatic carrier who visited the restaurant.

From January 10 to January 15, a total of 52 people have come to Phuentsholing from low-risk places.

Without the need to quarantine before entering Phuentsholing and the startling number of Covid-19 cases from Wangdue, people are suspicious the Covid-19 case in Phuentsholing was from Wangdue.

A resident, Melam, said the source of the first case in Phunetsholing could be related to Wangdue and Punatsangchu Hydro Power Project.

“Here in Phunetsholing, we follow strict protocols and works related to import are carried out in containment mode, fully monitored,” he said.

He said there were advocacy and awareness programmes every now and then covering all the communities in Phunetsholing.

“I would like to suggest the government review the duration of quarantine and increase to 21 days for those entering the country irrespective of Covid-19 doses. There was an incident in Phuentsholing where a person detected positive even after 14 days.”

The import of foreign workers, however, was suspended.

Another resident, Sonam said it was highly possible people traveling from the low-risk areas have brought the virus to Phuentsholing this time.

“They are allowed to move freely while we are put under pressure. The number of positive cases shows all. Those people in Phuentsholing who are losing their businesses should be compensated.”

Another resident, Ugyen Dhoendrup, said it is important to have mass testing in Phuentsholing to study the dangers. “This could be done after the blackout period is over and one person each from a household could be tested.”

Another resident, Namgay, said that the case of 52-year-old man from Laptsakha in Gedu, Chhukha, testing positive for Covid-19 yesterday was evident enough to prove the risk of people from low-risk areas coming to Phuentsholing.

“I have no doubt the source of the virus this time is from Wangdue,” he said.

The 52-year-old man worked at Punatsangchhu Project in Wangdue as a contractor and had come to Gedu on January 13. His family members tested negative for Covid-19 on the antigen test but their RT-PCR results will be known today.

Entire Gedu region was put under lockdown since yesterday.

A total of 118 primary contacts were identified and their RT-PCR tests were done. PCR of three health workers was also taken.

In total, Phuentsholing saw 22 new Covid-19 cases yesterday of which seven were from the community and 15 were foreign workers. All 22 positive cases were isolated and admitted in the isolation ward.

With yesterday’s seven cases from the community, Phuentsholing now has detected 14 cases from the community.