Neten Dorji | Trashigang

The emergence of more Covid-19 cases in Samdrupjongkhar is worrying residents in neighbouring Trashigang.

Shopkeepers said there was no change in the movement of people and businesses are operating unhindered but customers have dropped to half due to pandemic. A shopkeeper, Ugyen Wangchuk said, “Not many villagers are seen in the town like before.”

A restaurateur, Karma Tshering said there is strict vigilance. “The risk lies with commodities and vehicles coming to Trashigang from Samdrupjongkhar. This is the time to strictly adhere to health safety protocols and cooperate.”

Those operating businesses said that they ensure people follow safety measures and visit restaurants.

Officials on duty continue to ask the public to follow health protocols and caution them of the risks. “There is improvement in compliance.”

Although officials monitor strictly and strict protocols are in place, some fear that it won’t be enough to contain the virus if individuals are complacent.

“Since we are close to Samdrupjongkhar, it definitely scares us,” said another resident Ugyen Wangmo.

A villager from Bikhar, Dechen Wangmo, who had come to the town for shopping said they feared infection while travelling to the town. “We do not come here often, but while we are in the town, we follow protocols.”

Trashigang has not reported any case of Covid-19.

Residents said they are also stocking up everything as a preparation for future lockdown. “We are told by the town tshogpa to stock the essential items,” said a resident.

Hotels and restaurants along the Trashigang – Samdrupjongkhar highway and in the town have marked their floor with colourful tapes to encourage physical distancing. In restaurants, only two persons can share a table.

The dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce has urged the public to remain vigilant, as the cases have been increasing in the neighbouring dzongkhag. Issuing notification on Wednesday, the dzongkhag requested the people to avoid social gathering and places with crowds.

It has also recommended that people wear masks in public, wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser, and follow other health and safety protocols.

Meanwhile, 73 desuups returning from southern border duty and 33 desuup trainees were quarantined for seven days.