… residents seek a break from lockdowns

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Lockdown 4.0 in Phuentsholing must be a stringent one so that it stops the Covid-19 transmission and the town can open up, Phuentsholing residents say.

The 14-day lockdown starts at 6am today.

Residents say that the entire movement of people and vehicles, including that of import-export must be stopped except for delivery of essentials.

With the date for the second round of vaccination set, the government also has much to consider from this lockdown. But if it fails, residents said that they will be forced to bear the brunt of it.

A resident, Namgay said if import-export vehicle movement is allowed, many people, including the frontline workers will be involved.

“There will still be chances of transmission,” he said. “I am sure the FCBL has enough essential stock. The movement of the non-essential goods should be stopped completely.”

Namgay said if this lockdown fails to contain the outbreak, getting vaccinated is also not possible.

While announcing the second jab on July 7, the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering underlined that active positive people cannot be vaccinated and that vaccinating would be ineffective if there were cases in the community.

Some say that the three mega zones were too large and needed to be made smaller for easier handling and contact tracing in case of an outbreak.

Late evening yesterday, the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC-19TF) notified import-export will be facilitated from July 12. Emergency travel will be facilitated on a case-by-case basis.

Travel out of Phuentsholing with mandatory facility quarantine will be allowed. However, travellers from other dzongkhags will not be allowed into Phuentsholing, except for emergencies.

Flood mitigation works at Amochhu-Chamkuna will also be facilitated.

Escort services between Amochhu and Sorchen for travellers to and fro Samtse will be facilitated at a specific timing.

Except for LPG delivery on a case-by-case basis, no home deliveries will be entertained. Vegetables will be delivered once a week.

All offices, schools, institutions and businesses will remain closed.

Today marks the 84th day since the town was placed under lockdown on April 17 this year. It has not opened up fully since then. The Prime Minister expressed his hope that the lockdown would help contain the outbreak.

A resident in Phuentsholing’s Mega Zone 2, Tashi Dema, a private employee said she has four children to look after and hasn’t been paid.

“I took a salary advance. Our employer said we cannot get a salary without work. He is right,” she said. “I don’t want to apply for the kidu. I don’t want to trouble my King.”

Tashi Dema said there is no use of lockdowns when positive cases are emerging every day from the community. She also cannot go to her village because she and her family are in a “red cluster.”

Tashi Dema said, “The price of commodities has increased.”

A businessman Karma Wangdi said that while he was not able to operate his business, officials kept on bothering him for loan payments and taxes. “This is adding to my suffering,” he said.

Another resident, Phub Tshering said: “I personally feel that the government has shown no interest in Phuentsholing. There was nothing from them for a long time. The government was only worried about the import and export.”

Gomtu will also be under a 14-day complete lockdown from today. Lockdown in Samtse town has been further extended by one week, after the completion of a 72-hour lockdown yesterday.

Edited by Tshering Palden