Kelzang Wangchuk  | Samdrupjongkhar

Residents are confused with the sudden implementation of a quarantine system for people who exit and enter Nganglam in Pemagatshel by the drungkhag Covid-19 task force recently.

The lockdown in Nganglam was relaxed on September 4.

Those who exit and enter from Gashari Bali and above drungkhag guesthouse outpost would be quarantined for a week. Nganglam is considered as a high-risk area because it shares a border with Assam, India.

A resident, Jigme Wangdi, said that the lockdown was relaxed and shops in the town were opened.

“But we’re confused when the task force suddenly started quarantining people who exit and enter Nganglam town without any prior public notification.”

He said the shops in the town are open but are without customers because people are not allowed to enter the town.

Jigme Wangdi said that villagers of Menchu and Gashari are not allowed to exit Gashari Bali and the guesthouse because most of their lands are at Alibari and Tanzama.

“It would have been better if the task force had issued a public notification.”

“The word going around is that individuals have to bear quarantine expenses. The concerned authorities such as the task force, among others, have to make it clear as it would burden the people if it is true,” Jigme Wangdi said.

Thromde thuemi, Nima Dendup, said although it is for a good cause, people were confused with the sudden implementation of the system. Villagers of the three gewogs in the drungkhag are also not allowed to come to Nganglam town for shopping.

He said vendors in Nganglam bring vegetables from Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar and Lhuentse. About four to five drivers are quarantined in Nganglam as they could not return after dropping the vegetables.

He said that he reported the matters to the drungkhag administration, but the officials told him it was the government’s order.

Thromde thuemi said the task force should have issued a notification before implementing the system because those vegetable vendors depend on the vegetable products.

“Nganglam is considered as a high-risk area even though there are no positive cases reported in Nganglam so far.”

The incident commander (IC) and Nganglam drungpa, Sherab Zangpo, said quarantining people travelling from high-risk to low-risk and low-risk to high-risk was as per the government’s press release, adding that they had notified the public through the drungkhag’s Facebook page.

He said the vegetable vendors are allowed to transport vegetables until Gashari Bali and above the guesthouse outpost and trans-ship from there into town. De-Suups escort those travelling to other dzongkhags until the outposts.

“The task force is also studying the quarantine expenditure measures based on genuine reasons because there are people who have registered for the family outing, among others,” the drungpa said.

There are 79 persons, including 60 students, quarantined in Nganglam until yesterday.