The management of health and wellbeing of the vulnerable population during this pandemic being the foremost concern of the His Majesty the King, reverse isolation facilities have been established in all the 20 dzongkhags under the royal command.
“The most vulnerable population to Covid-19, especially due to health comorbidities will be put in to these facilities,” the notification on the initiation of reverse isolation facility by office of Gyalpoi Zimpon on March 19. It stated that this is to provide a safe space where they can effectively isolate themselves when there is surge of positive cases in their community.
Reverse isolation means isolating most vulnerable population during this phase unlike isolation of positive cases in the past. Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering explained this in a virtual press briefing recently. He said this section of people would be kept in serene and conducive places where they can live in comfort and happiness.
“This kidu system stems from Bhutan’s continuing policy of protecting lives during the pandemic,” the notification stated.
According to the notification, the reverse isolation facilities will have dedicated health professionals and personal caregivers, and be connected to relevant health facilities to ensure the wellbeing of the people in the isolation facilities. “Priority will be to boost the overall health of this population with medical care and supplements.”
It stated that the reverse isolation facilities will be maintained under strict Covi-19 protocols .
Health ministry, on March 18 also called for the registration of vulnerable population under the Bhutan vaccine system. According to the ministry, the vulnerable population are those living with severe health conditions, people living in destitute, 65 years and above, disabled, and who do not have any livelihood support either from their family members or any entities.
National immunization technical advisory group member Dr Sithar Dorjee said the most vulnerable persons should update their high-risk medical conditions and current residential address on BVS. “They should also express whether they are willing to undergo reverse isolation if identified as high-risk vulnerable individual.”
Dr Sithar said, ministry of health and office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon will then identify and conduct reverse isolation to shield these individuals from Covid-19 infection while there are virus spread in communities.
Travel restrictions update
The movement of private vehicles within the respective mega zones will be allowed from today according to the press release from the prime minister’s office (PMO). Those wishing to drive beyond their own mega zone for emergency reasons should produce documents or any evidence for verification on the ground.
The press release also stated that people travelling from high risk to low risk will not have to undergo facility quarantine but have home quarantine. “All the inter district travellers are allowed and the quarantine duration will be for seven days until further notice. Travellers must register with the respective dzongkhags via 1010 help desk prior to their travel.”
All the private and public firms, companies and agencies can open with 25 percent of the total staff. Head and supervisors will decide and issue an order stating names of the employees, which can be used as permit to travel to and from workstation. “No e-pass is required.”
All private and public offices in dzongkhags must also be open from Monday according to the press release from the PMO. Except for the entertainment centres, all the businesses in the country will operate till 9pm.
Jigme Dorji Wangchuk national referral hospital will offer all the services starting Monday besides other relaxations.
More relaxation for Thimphu and those areas in similar unlocking phase from Monday (Mar 21, 2022)
- Movement of private cars within the respective mega-zone is allowed.
- Those who need to drive beyond the mega-zone for emergency reasons must produce documents or any evidence for verification on the ground.
- Inter-district travels and quarantine
- All inter-district travels are allowed.
- In a major shift of protocol, domestic travellers from high-risk areas and districts can now undergo home quarantine and not facility quarantine.
- The quarantine duration is seven days until further notice.
- People will have to register with the respective dzongkhags via 1010 HelpDesk prior to their travel.
- All public busses must be operational to facilitate the travels.
Offices and services
- In Thimphu, all private and public firms, companies and agencies can open with 25 percent of the total staff. Heads or supervisors will decide and issue an order stating names of the employees. The order can be used as a permit to travel to and from workstations. No e-pass is required.
- Critical services such as notary, visa, biometric and related services must open. Driving tests and International English Language Testing System for those seeking to travel outside must be facilitated. All individuals availing of these services can produce evidence for movement.
- All private and public offices in the Dzongkhags that have remained closed so far must open from Monday.
- Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital will offer all the services starting Monday. Similarly, all hospitals and health facilities across the country must continue to offer unhindered routine services. It merits a special expression of gratitude to the JDWNRH team and all health workers for the unconditional service.
- Except for the entertainment centres, all businesses across the country can operate until 9pm.
- Gym, yoga and similar fitness centres can open for clients residing within the same mega-zone.
- Reverse isolation
- Individuals across the country who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 will receive special care under the Reverse Isolation Program, an initiative under the Royal Command.
- The vulnerable group will be cared for in identified facilities or at their own homes.
- Dedicated health professionals and personal caregivers, in coordination with relevant health facilities will ensure the wellbeing of the individuals in isolation.