Dechen Dolkar 

The national Covid-19 task force (NC19TF) notified that residents of Thimphu will be allowed to visit Chukha, Haa, Paro, Wangduephodrang and Gasa and return on the same day without undergoing test and quarantine.

Travellers will, however, have to obtain the epass.

A task force member said they had to make the decision because many people requested that they wanted to go and return on the same day since they got urgent work.

“Since the board exams are also about to finish, many parents want to pick up their children from schools,” he said.

The task force member also said many people requested that they wanted to visit relatives who are sick.

He also clarified that it is not just private cars, but also taxis could travel.

While many people in Thimphu welcomed the decision, residents in other dzongkhags, especially in the southern and high-risk areas questioned the decision.

A voice message went viral on social media yesterday where a Phuentsholing resident questioned the decision, claiming the task force is treating as if Thimphu residents do not carry the virus. “Positive cases are emerging from Thimphu, but residents can travel without undergoing test or quarantine. Phuentsholing residents lost family members and had patients in other dzongkhags, but residents were never allowed to travel like that.”

The task force member, however, claimed that since most people reside in Thimphu, there was a maximum request from Thimphu residents.

He also said that if people in other dzongkhags want similar facility, they will have to go through dzongkhag taskforce and regional task force. “They make their own decisions. There are only certain things which are taken at the national level.”

The member said that the dzongkhag task force could decide on the matter. “If they want our advice and opinion, they submit to the NC19TF.”

He said they would verify from the check post management system if travellers return on the same day.“People who want to stay and don’t want to return back on the same day will have to do an RT-PCR test and undergo a one-week home quarantine.”

The RP-PCR test is valid for three days.

Meanwhile, yesterday 646 epass have registered for inter-dzongkhag movement.