Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing’s week-long record without any Covid-19 positive case from the community was broken yesterday with three new positive cases from the community.

The community transmission surfaced at the time when the mass screening had just begun yesterday.

As per the mass screening plan, an individual from every household was to be selected for testing. The first day of the mass screening yesterday was expected to screen 2,685 households from three zones.

By the end of the screening, tomorrow, about 8,204  households were targeted to get tested from nine zones.

However, yesterday’s community transmission cases have raised concerns as to whether the expected lifting of the lockdown after the mass screening would happen.

A resident, Melam, said the report of three positive cases from the community could further extend the lockdown.

“But lockdown should not be the solution at this stage as we are already into two weeks under lockdown,” he said.

Melam said the place where the community transmission occurred should be cordoned off and let the unlocking process start.

Should the lockdown get lifted after the mass screening, he said each citizen had the responsibility to wear masks all the time and maintain the physical distance.

“It is the best weapon against the virus,” he said, adding that he had seen many are complacent which led to the infection in the community leading to repeated lockdowns.

Melam said the quarantine facilities should be strictly monitored with stringent regulations and SoPs. Approved warehouses of essential items, export warehouses and industrial areas in Pasakha should also be strictly monitored, he added.

A construction employee, Bhim, said he felt “hopeless” after the news of the three community cases yesterday.

“Staying like this for a longer time will also hamper life in many ways,” he said, adding it also affected his work.

“Our children are remaining idle at home, like last year. Learning from online is not helping.”

Bhim said children were more interested in using mobile phones than learning. Parents are having difficulty in teaching them because all parents are not educated.

As per the mass screening plan, lifting of the lockdown is expected to start from May 3, if no cases are detected in any of the nine zones.

If one or more positive cases are detected in less than five zones, a restrictive lifting of lockdown in Covid-19 free zones is supposed to start from May 3.

Should one or more positive cases get detected from five or more zones, the plan is to extend lockdown in entire Phuentsholing for another seven days and go for second mass testing.

 Three new positive Covid-19 cases emerged in Phuentsholing yesterday even as the city was preparing to undo the lockdown. A three-day mass testing that began yesterday collected 2,921 samples from its residents.