Staff reporter

Police are investigating how a 37-year-old woman from Gelephu obtained a special vehicle permit to travel to Thimphu on November 6.

The businesswoman, who was quarantined on November 8 in Thimphu after officials learnt about her journey, did not obtain the permit from the dzongkhag incident commander (IC) secretariat.

Sources also alleged that only a few officials had access to the scanned copy of the special vehicle permit, which is issued to people travelling on emergencies like demise of parents, spouse, and for referral cases if an applicant produces documents like death certificate from the hospital or a statement of death.

Other official documents required to process emergency movement include referral letter, admission letter, undertaking letter, and should undergo the Covid-19 test among others. The movement permit is issued if the traveller tests negative.

Any movement from Gelephu, which is considered a high-risk area to low-risk area, is routed through the IC secretariat office working under the direct supervision of the incident commander.

IC secretariat office coordinates the permit and documentation for the routine travellers, emergency, and other ad-hoc movements to date.

Sarpang dzongkhag implemented mandatory seven days quarantine for routine travellers in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. The office coordinates and issued movement of routine and emergency travellers out of Gelephu.

While officials from the dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce refused to comment, it was learnt the IC secretariat office did not issue the permit.

Sources allege that the woman secured the special permit from an escort official, a desuup, on duty.

While routine travellers from Sarpang to low-risk areas are required to register for seven-days mandatory quarantine and then get tested for Covid-19 before departing from the dzongkhag, it was alleged the woman did not stay in quarantine but obtained the quarantine and Covid-19 test report.