…taskforce restricts movement in Mega Zone 2 in Phuentsholing

As Phuentsholing enters its 49th day under lockdown, it continues to report positive cases from the community. This has led to further lockdown in some places in the town, according to sources.

Two students and a nine-year-old male child of a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 at the College of Science and Technology (CST) campus in Phuentsholing yesterday. 

This takes the count to seven considering the four positive cases reported on June 1. They were all college canteen staff. 

Since all four zones within Mega Zone 2 , including CST, had reported positive cases yesterday, the Southern Covid-19 Taskforce changed the movement status in Mega Zone 2. 

Movement within Mega Zone 2 will now be facilitated only within the smaller zones as it was before the introduction of mega zones. Inter-zone movement is not allowed. 

Yesterday’s positive cases were among 211 students, including college faculties, who had visited the canteen. 

Currently, there are 411 students on campus, out of which 211 are primary contacts. Although initially 180 students were identified as primary contacts on June 1, the number had increased to 211 eventually. 

Considering the huge number of primary contacts, many parents across the country are worried. 

A worried parent in Thimphu told Kuensel there were not many De-suups on duty guarding the primary contacts in the quarantine.

“The students are allowed to move in the building for logistics tasks,” he said. “I think this is scary.”

The parent pointed out some primary contacts could have been infected, while some may not. 

“And if infected primary contacts mingle or move within the building, the likelihood of spreading the virus is just too high,” he said. 

The parent said strict monitoring of the quarantine facilities at CST will help prevent a possible surge in positive cases. 

Meanwhile, CST president Cheki Dorji (PhD) said everything is under control. The college has been living in containment mode for more than a year now.

“We have separated those students who visited the canteen and those who have not. They are quarantined in different facilities,” he said, adding that there was no chance of mixing.  

In regards to managing the mess to such a huge number of people, the president said a separate and safe cordoned space has been identified, from where the students come and take the food and head to their hostel. Water connection has also been arranged in a similar manner.

“The cooks also don’t mingle and stay in a separate place,” Cheki Dorji said. 

The supply of essentials, vegetables and fruits is done under strict protocol. They are supplied by suppliers identified by the trade office. Bulk supplies for the college are supplied by the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) under strict Covid-19 protocols. 

In terms of security, the CST president said there are four de-suups and seven G4S security personnel inside the campus. De-suups and policemen are also placed at strategic locations outside the campus, he added.

After the positive cases were reported on June 1, the government quickly intervened as more than 130 students and faculty members were on their way home to several places that day. The students were returning home after finishing their exams and a week-long quarantine on campus.

Samples of those 200 students who had not visited the canteen will be taken today. 

Three individuals in the Pemaling area in Phuentsholing have also tested positive on the antigen yesterday. Their RT-PCR result is expected to be out today. 

By Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing 

Edited by Tshering Palden