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After 35 days into the third lockdown, the second phase of lockdown relaxation begins in Phuentsholing today.

The unlocking is based on mega zones, the Southern Covid-19 Task Force announced yesterday.

Movement

Movement of people (by foot and cycling) is allowed within the mega zone but movement between mega zones is not allowed. There are three mega zones. Inter-mega-zone movement of utility, emergency and authorised vehicles is allowed.

All schools, offices and financial institutions will continue to remain closed.

Those from Samtse and peri-urban areas stranded in Lokchina, Phuentsholing and Sampheling gewogs of Chukha can return home. Transit travel from low-risk areas to Samtse and vice-versa will also be facilitated as per the existing escort protocols.

The seven-day mandatory quarantine will be facilitated for those travelling to low-risk areas from high-risk areas, including emergency travel.

Businesses

Shops selling essentials and hardware items identified by the thromde working group will be allowed to open between 8am and 7pm.

The integrated vegetable market in mega zone 2 will also open and operate at 50 percent capacity.

For mega zone 1 and 3, retail shops will be allowed to sell vegetables. Restaurants, salons, barbershops and entertainment centres will remain closed.

Automobile workshops will be allowed to open at 50 percent of its staff to continue the pending works only.

The second phase unlocking will conclude on May 28. Further easing will be then announced.

Meanwhile, 15,000 samples have been collected during the mass screening that ended yesterday in Phuentsholing. 

On May 20, an eight-year-old tested positive from the community. The previous day, a 12-year-old boy had also tested positive from the community. On May 19, three community transmissions were detected.

A resident, Namgay Wangchuk said he was surprised by the news of the relaxation.

“There are positive cases coming out every day,” he said.

“It was okay if the positive cases were just from the red zones. Other zones could have been relaxed. But cases are emerging from unexpected areas.”

A businessman, Sonam Penjor from Core 2 area said the government is trying its best to make things easier for people with this relaxation.

“Many businesses are under loss and many individuals under financial stress,” he said.

Although not all business entities are allowed to open, he said this relaxation could make the public relax.

Another resident, Melam said while more relaxations will come after May 28, schools should not be allowed to open until mid of June. “This will be a good precaution.”

By Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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