Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Residents of Samdrupjongkhar town are questioning how the two frontline workers tested positive to Covid-19 since they were under strict containment protocols.

Some said that the loaders living in a containment area have a high risk to test positive because they deal with the Indian trucks ferrying the imported goods. “But how have the frontline workers at the outpost (OP) tested positive?”

A resident, Tshering, said that it was important for the authorities to determine the source to prevent similar positive cases in the future.

“None of the loaders dealing with the Indian trucks ferrying grocery items tested positive until now. Since the two leaders have tested positive, the containment protocols have to be reviewed,” he said.

Another resident, Dendup, said that it was confusing how the loaders were assigned for unloading because they go for the task on their own, and no one monitors them. “They need to be monitored more strictly.”

“The authorities should also deploy security personnel outside the loaders’ containment area so that they could stop unnecessary movements during the off days,” another resident said.

Shutdown relaxation

After completing the epidemiological risk assessments and case investigations, the Eastern Covid-19 Task Force (EC-19TF) lifted the 72-hour shutdown at 3pm yesterday since there were no community cases and the risk was now minimal.

The EC-19TF imposed a temporary lockdown in Samdrupjongkhar town up to Pinchina, including Phuentsho Rabtenling industrial areas, at 3pm on January 11 after detecting two Covid-19 positive cases from the community and two imported positive cases.

According to the EC-19TF’s notification issued yesterday, sports such as archery, khuru, football, gym, fitness centres and snooker shall not be allowed, and religious congregation and site visits and social gatherings will also be prohibited.

Routine travel to the low-risk areas will be facilitated after completing the seven-day quarantine. Hotels, bars, salons, vegetable markets, taxis and public transport have to operate at 50 percent capacity and factories, industries and construction activities to be carried out in containment mode.

The notification stated that the meetings, seminars and conferences would not be allowed, shops have to be closed at 8:30pm and movement of pedestrians and vehicles is restricted after 9:30pm until January 18. Only 25 people are allowed to attend funeral rites and the import of expatriates is suspended until further notice.

Health officials traced about 40 primary contacts of the loaders and frontline workers who tested positive on January 11. All the contacts tested negative on the RT-PCR.

The officials have also tested more than 926 people from the shops who employed the loaders, mandarin depots, Phuentsho Rabtenling industrial areas and frontline workers, including people across 11 gewogs in the dzongkhag during the shutdown in Samdrupjongkhar town. All tested negative.

Health officials said that with the detection of the Omicron in the country, it is important for people to follow the safety measures and protocols to ensure safety in the community.