There are 36 active imported cases in Sarpang 

Nima | Gelephu

Isolation and quarantine centres in Sarpang have come under pressure with an increasing number of imported Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks.

Sarpang reported almost two positive case almost daily from foreign workers and Bhutanese returnees starting from January 3, including two frontline workers who were exposed to the virus while on duty.

All active cases in the dzongkhag were from quarantine and isolation facilities and not from the community to date.

Having to isolate the positive cases immediately and quarantine close contacts of the positive cases, the dzongkhag is running short of isolation and quarantine capacity.

Old Gelephu hospital used as an isolation ward with a 34-bed isolation capacity is packed today.

The foreign workers who tested positive were shifted to a 200-bed quarantine facility after the import of foreign workers was suspended last week owing to increasing Covid-19 cases globally.

In addition to the 34-bed isolation ward, the dzongkhag has identified a hotel to isolate and quarantine frontline workers.

Close to 30 foreign workers, who tested positive, are isolated at a 200-bed quarantine facility.    

To increase the isolation and quarantine capacity, the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force is trying to set up a new isolation and quarantine facility at Gelephu domestic airport.

The airport also has reserved rooms that could be used as an isolation facility as and when the positive cases are detected from the respective cohorts, according to the officials from the task force.

The incident commander of Sarpang Covid-19 task force, Dzongdag Lobzang Dorji said the dzongkhag would be enhancing the quarantine facility.

“Another 120-bed quarantine facility for foreign workers is planned at the airport. If we place foreign workers at the new quarantine facility we’ll have enough space for isolation,” he said.

He added that the quarantine facility at the domestic airport was explored as an immediate measure because constructing a new facility is expected to take time.

Meanwhile, all the construction and export activities ongoing in Sarpang were stopped following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a 24 hours blackout in 14 dzongkhags including Sarpang issued yesterday.

Close to 130 people who travelled from Wangdue, Phuentsholing and task force officials were tested for Covid-19 in Sarpang yesterday. The results were awaited.

The export of orange from Gelephu is on a halt. However, the task force plans to facilitate the export of oranges if the blackout period is extended.

The dzongkhag administration notified all individuals who travelled into Sarpang starting from January 10 from Wangduephodrang to report to respective health officials in Gelephu hospital, Chuzergang, and nearest health facilities for the Covid-19 test.