Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing

After 87 villagers, including the primary contacts,  tested negative for Covid-19 yesterday, the home ministry lifted the community quarantine restrictions placed on Tshongzom in Samtse gewog, Samtse.

The village was placed under community quarantine on July 15 after a resident who was working in Jaigaon had entered the village without informing authorities on July 5. The quarantine period ended yesterday.

There were 53 households in the village that were placed under the community quarantine. About nine of the total households had contact with the person.

Movement of people and vehicles in and out of the community were restricted, except for security vehicles and those transporting essentials. Yesterday, the mandatory quarantine duration for the suspected person was completed and his RTD test came out negative.

Samtse dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said that the community yesterday showed a feeling of “regret and remorse.”

“We have explained to them the importance of reporting,” he said. “If there is a magical word for Covid-19, it is to report.”

Whether people are sure or not, they have to report to the authorities and then the authorities will validate, the dzongdag said.

Although the official entry points are open, Samtse has a herculean task of controlling the countless informal and illegal points of entry ever since the borders were sealed on March 23 as a national pandemic response.

Including the main entry points, there are more than 40 informal entry points. DeSuups, police, forest, gewog officials, civil servants, and local volunteers are monitoring the areas day and night.

Dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said that communities in the border areas have the responsibility to communicate and cooperate.

“They have to do it actively,” he said. “They have to do it unconditionally. It is for their own benefit.”

Gewogs also have people appointed for villagers to report in respective villages, who will inform the gewog administration and further on to higher authorities.

Sonam Wangyel said that the expenses increase due to such carelessness and lapses. Helping with the right information and communication will benefit people and country.

“It also means more people entering legally and fewer people being convicted,” he said.

“They will also have a good place to stay for 21 days. They will have proper health checkups.”

Meanwhile, a Bolero pickup driver from Phongmey, Trashigang was arrested at around 10:30pm at the Chukha checkpoint on July 26, trying to transport five foreign workers from Paro, without following Covid-19 protocol.

According to a press release from the Covid-19 Task Force in Phuentsholing, the foreign workers were worked at a construction company, Noryang, in Paro. The workers were hidden under a tarpaulin sheet at the back, the press release stated.

A preliminary investigation has found that the Bolero driver had agreed to transport the foreign workers for Nu 1,700 each.