Chimi Dema

A woman with pneumonia who was admitted to the national referral hospital in Thimphu and died on February 14 tested negative for COVID-19.

The deceased was one of the 35 Bhutanese participants for a month-long Yoga Instructors Course in Bengaluru, India.

According to the hospital report, the deceased had a fever when she was screened by infra-red fever scanner at Paro International Airport on February 10.

However, as it did not qualify the case definition of the virus, she was provided necessary treatment and advised to take rest. But it was reported that the deceased visited the hospital after which the blood tests were prescribed.

Although the case did not qualify as a suspected case by definition, chief of communicable diseases and also a principal case investigator, Rixin Jamtsho, said that the need for the test was triggered amidst the rumours that there were participants at the course from COVID-19 hit-countries.

But on further assessment, the information proved to be untrue, he said.

Meanwhile, nine other participants who visited the hospital complaining of runny nose, mild sore throat and weakness, among others, were assessed for respiratory illness and COVID-19 after they were quarantined for about six hours at isolation units of the hospital.

All of them tested negative.

Going by the quarantine protocols, the people quarantined need to be released with proper advice on health education and preventive measures on flu and common cold.

This, according to Rixin Jamtsho, created a misconception among people. He said that the advice on self-isolation and quarantining was to ensure effective prevention and complete the incubation period of the virus of two to 14 days.

Other 25 participants could not be traced for screening at the quarantine facility.

However, as there was no reported laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 in Bangaluru so far and given the safe and standard facilities at the training centre, Rixin Jamtsho said that the risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection was low.

The ministry said that no COVID-19 case was detected in the country so far.