Nima Wangdi 

As snowfall disrupted the mass testing in Thimphu, the government announced that the lockdown in Thimphu was extended for three more days starting today.

Residents will be allowed to move only within their respective mega zones. They are allowed to make important visits to family members in the vicinity and share meals with parents besides moving to purchase essentials. “But social gatherings and celebrations are prohibited,” a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday stated.

The extension was decided, as health teams could not carry out community screening due to the heavy snowfall in the past two days. “People could not come out of their homes for testing due to the snow. “All the samples would have otherwise served as a basis for either reopening or installing other Covid-19 measures.”

Residents with the slightest symptoms are urged to come forward for testing.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering has said: “Every restricted hour leads to huge inconveniences and loss to the people and the nation.”

He said that the restrictions brought economic functionaries in all public and private spheres to a halt and that losses and pressure were mounting by the hour. “Although everyone is looking forward to coming out of their houses, cautious reopening was critical to assure all the dzongkhags attain ‘green’ a disease-free status.”

“There are talks about living with the virus but we are not even going there at the moment,” Lyonchhen said although Omicron claims few lives, death is inevitable among the vulnerable populations mainly children and the elderly.

Lyonchhen said if Bhutanese let down the guard this time, some more lives would be lost. “So why even go there when we have the control in our hands? Let’s take it till the end together.”

Lyonchhen has also said that His Majesty was in the areas of outbreak at the moment, closely monitoring the communities and looking into grievances, offering an immeasurable respite.  “When the mere visualisation or thought of His Majesty among us brings so much tranquility within, just imagine how much radiance His Majesty’s physical presence and personal guidance would have brought in the lives of the people in affected places?” Lyonchhen said.

Thimphu has been under lockdown for 23 days now.