Dechen Dolkar 

Prime Minister Office (PMO) announced yesterday that lockdown in Thimphu will continue until January 22.

The announcement came after two primary contacts of the index case of Punatshangchhu tested positive in Thimphu yesterday.

The officials said that the duo, who were traveling to Thimphu from Bjimithangka, were traced on the first day of the blackout period and were swiftly quarantined.

Within four days, 165 community cases were detected from Wangdue, Punakha, Gelephu, Phuentsholing, and Samtse.

From January 16 to 19, a total of 325 cases were recorded; 123 positive cases from quarantine facilities and 30 from contact in quarantine facilities.

In four days, Wangdue recorded 117 community cases, Phuentsholing recorded 26 community cases, Gelephu recorded 19, Punakha recorded two, and Samste one community case.

The announcement states that it is due to the upsurge of community cases in many parts of the country, the highly infectious nature of Omicron, the size of the population in Thimphu, and the frequency of interactions with the high-risk zones and potential exposure, all aggravate the situation for the capital city.

The risk assessment at this stage, it states, could potentially miss out on some pockets in Thimphu, particularly those that are in the virus incubation period.

The Ministry of Health has also notified that a second round of testing in Thimphu will be conducted on January 22 to establish the risk level for Thimphu; the samples collected so far will assist in monitoring the situations closely.

PMO states: “Should we unlock in haste, the outcome could be far more devastating. But we know that we always have your support and cooperation.”