Based on risk profiling and successful containment of the Covid-19 outbreak beyond red villages, the eastern Covid-19 task force (EC-19TF) started the first phase of unlocking Jomotshangkha drungkhag in Samdrupjongkhar yesterday.

Residents of red and yellow villages shall be allowed to do all household chores, feeding livestock and other activities within their premises, but people shall not be permitted to visit neighbours or invite guests to their homes.  

Movement shall be allowed within the green villages and Jomotshangkha town. However, movement from Jomotshangkha town and green villages to red and yellow villages is not be permitted unless authorised.

Public transports shall be allowed with 50 percent capacity.

According to the task force’s notification, travel will be facilitated for stranded individuals from green villages to other gewogs in the dzongkhag after an antigen test. In addition, a weeklong mandatory quarantine for those travelling to low-risk dzongkhags will also be facilitated.

It also stated that livestock herding in red and yellow villages should be permitted within the household premises and identified locations as per the gewog taskforce and concerned tshogpas. People should also have to undergo a weeklong quarantine for medical emergencies.

Essential suppliers and authorised vehicles from Jomotshangkha town to red and yellow villages shall be allowed until the identified point of entry (PoE) as per the standard operating procedure (SoP) and shops would remain closed while shops in green villages shall open.

“Service providers like Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) and Bhutan Telecom (BT) will be allowed to visit the red villages in bubble mode with complete personal protection equipment (PPE),” the notification stated.

Schools and offices in red villages and schools in green villages would remain closed until further notice, but offices and financial institutions in green villages would operate with 50 percent capacity and all health centres would remain open.

The EC-19TF declared a complete lockdown in Jomotshangkha after detecting positive cases in the community on May 21. About 160 have tested positive in Jomotshangkha so far.

By Kelzang Wangchuk | Nganglam

Edited by Tashi Dema