Nima Wangdi

For two consecutive days, Bhutan detected a record number of Covid-19 positive cases from the community. However, experts say that there is no reason to panic since it doesn’t necessarily mean an uncontrollable amount of active infections in the community.

National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group member and the head of the Royal Centre for Disease Control, Dr Sonam Wangchuk yesterday said after around four weeks of lockdown, most of the dzongkhags are in the process of transiting to yellow and green zones.

“We are doing mass testing and we are picking up more cases,” he said. The country saw the highest number of positive cases yesterday with 386. “But if you see the laboratory results, you will find almost 50 percent of them have recovered or are already recovering.”

He said only 20-30 percent of the total number of cases are in the active infection stage. “This indicates that the virus is actually dying in the population.”

Dr Sonam Wangchuk said, although there are more positive cases today, they are actually seeing a decline in the cases from their assessment. “People should not really worry about the cases we are updating on a daily basis today.”

“As of now, the dzongkhags that were badly affected are seeing a decrease in the number of cases except for the Samtse, and Samdrupjongkhar, Jomotsangkha in particular, where there is active transmission happening in the community, especially in the rural area,” he said.    

Other red areas including Wandue are seeing a decrease in the number of active cases.

“We can say this because we are doing symptomatic testing every day and we find not many people coming forward and detecting the positive. It is a good sign,” he said.

In the next three or four weeks, he said, most of the dzongkhags in the South would clear the virus. “This means we should be able to eliminate the virus from the community as per our assessment as of today,” he said.

Technical Advisory Group member, Dr Tshokey said, “We have been able to manage to this number of positive cases mainly due to the lockdowns and other restrictions put in place. It would have been worst if those measures were not there.”

According to him, the country saw about 750 new cases during this outbreak. While the oldest person infected was 103 years old, 500 of those infected were children. “Seven of those infected so far required oxygen support,” he said.

“Living with the virus is not an option as it could also lead to more serious health problems in the future after recovery,” he said.