Neten Dorji | Trashigang 

When the officials and volunteers came knocking and delivering the movement passes, residents of Trashigang were much relieved that the process to lift the lockdown has begun.

Residents have gradually appeared on the streets of Trashigang that donned a deserted look in the past two weeks.

Thukten Zangpo, who works at a private company, said he feels much relief after they were allowed to move around.   “It has been quite tough and really hard to stay at home without any work for weeks.”

Another resident, Sangay Zangmo said she was happy that at least she could buy the food items thats her family wanted. “With movement cards, we can buy everything, as per our needs and choice.”

She said it is also time to support the government and follow the health protocol while everyone is out.

“We are very excited when we get the movement cards,” said Dolma Lhamo, who runs the business. “It has been really tough for me.  Now I feel relaxed.”

The residents thanked His Majesty The King and the government for easing the lockdown and allowing them to move around in a regulated manner.

Another resident, Thinley Wangchuk said: “You can already tell that there is a sense of relief from people being able to do shopping themselves again. It brings a little more of that feeling of normal coming back.”

A civil servant said that for many people, they have been cooped up in their homes by watching television and staying with children. “Being able to get out again is a big deal,” he said. “But people need to be responsible and follow the government’s advice on health and safety.”

Officials monitor strictly. They ensure people follow every health safety protocol.

“I feel comfortable with the protocols we have in place,” said a graduate, referring to wearing face mask, washing hands and keeping physical distance.

“To stay at home is most difficult for youth like me,” he said. “It is a relief for me since we get four hours to move around.”

Deyjung wholesale owner, Yeshi Zangmo said that not many people are coming out like the first day of easing the lockdown. “During the lockdown, we used to get orders from more than 10 households in a day, now it has reduced,” she said adding that people now only order heavy things.

Meanwhile, the number of calls to  Trashigang operation centre for delivery services has dropped after residents were allowed to move out of their homes. “We used to receive 70 calls in a day for essential items and other purposes. It has dropped to 40 calls today,” an operator said.