More than 1,500 people stranded

Nima | Gelephu

With more than 1,500 people stranded in various gewogs in Sarpang, the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force had asked gewog administrations to quarantine people stranded in their gewogs.

The dzongkhag went into lockdown on January 16 and it implemented its second phase of relaxation on February 17, but inter-dzongkhag movement is restricted to emergency travel.

More than 160 people completed a mandatory quarantine period yesterday from Sershong and Chuzergang gewogs.

All tested negative on RT-PCT before departing to their respective places in low-risk areas.

Those testing positive after the quarantine were taken to an isolation facility, according to the quarantine protocols.

Sershong gup Tshering said that there were more than 150 people registered as stranded in the gewog.

“The gewog helped with the registration for those who couldn’t use Google Docs. Tshogpas helped us with the registration. The dzongkhag will facilitate transportation,” he said.

He also said that the quarantine for college and school students, as well as emergency travels were facilitated earlier with the help of the task force.

Chuzergang gewog will be quarantining stranded travellers from Sershong and Umling gewog in the next batch since the quarantine facilities in Umling and Sershong gewogs are not well equipped.

Shompangkha gewog has identified Kencholing Extended Classroom as facility quarantine.

Gewog officials are working on stabilising the school’s electricity and water supplies.

Kencholing ECR is about five km away from the gewog centre.

Quarantine individuals undergo rapid antigen tests before going into quarantine and will be released after seven days with quarantine certificates and test results.

The gewog quarantine team provides meals, expected to cost Nu 250 per person.

According to the gups, those quarantining in gewogs carry their own bedding that will be returned to their respective guardian or relative after the quarantine ends on the eighth day.

The bills for the meals will be forwarded to the task force.

Rekha Gurung, who is stranded in Jigmecholing, said it was difficult to get into quarantine despite requesting officials in dzongkhag and the gewog.

“Other gewogs started quarantining, but there is no quarantine facility here. We could face family problems because of the lockdown,” she said.

The mother of two daughters stays in Wangdue and could not leave after the lockdown was imposed in Sarpang last month.

A resident from Gelephu said the quarantine was entertained for those with their own vehicles. “I have a flight on March 7 to return to Kuwait for work. I am not sure if I will be able to return to work on time next month,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jigmecholing, Dekiling, Shompangkha, and Gelephu gewogs have been unable set up quarantine centres to date. There are only middle and higher secondary schools in Dekiling and Gelephu.

Gups of the two gewogs said the schools have resumed activity for the board examinations.

Jigmecholing could not get approval to use the gewog meeting hall as the quarantine centre from the dzongkhag task force.

Records maintained by the gewog showed there are more than 50 stranded travellers in Jigmecholing.