Nima Wangdi

With Covid-19 restrictions eased in Thimphu since yesterday morning, the offices will open from today. With this, people can now travel around.

Sowa Lyonpo, Dechen Wangmo, while announcing the lifting of the restrictions on the national television on Saturday said those travelling out of Thimphu will have to have RT-PCR tests while people travelling to Thimphu from low-risk dzongkhags will not require it. “However, one week quarantine for those coming to Thimphu from high-risk areas like Wangdue, Punakha and Gelephu remain unchanged.”

The health minister said people should refrain from travelling out of Thimphu unless it is unavoidable. Going by the past experiences, travellers were found to be the carrier of the virus.”

“Since the virus got transmitted due to crowding so far, gatherings are disallowed. People should follow Covid-19 protocols of washing hands and wearing masks strictly,” she said. “People should not have the notion of being free from the virus after testing negative. The virus could be anywhere undetected.”

Lyonpo said people travelling to nearby places like Paro and returning the same day will not require RT-PCR test. But travellers heading to Thimphu returned from Chuzom after the officials on duty did not allow them to pass through without RT-PCR test certificates.

However, the press release from Prime Minister’s Office stated that RT-PCR test certificates were mandatory for anyone travelling out of Thimphu until the end of this month. Only those from nearby dzongkhags taking a day trip to Thimphu will not require it, it stated.

The press release stated that the high-risk entertainment centres like clubs, pubs, karaoke, discotheques and movie halls will remain closed until February 28. Irrespective of the number of players, archery games will also not be allowed until the end of February. “All the drivers ferrying public goods must have RT-PCR test certificates with a validity of one week.”

“Outdoor sports without spectators will be allowed but indoors sports will not be allowed,” the press release stated only 20 people are allowed to attend funerals.

The health minister said besides following protocols sincerely, people with symptoms should come forward for tests. Likewise, the drivers including public transport should get tested without someone having to remind them.

Some 30,800 samples were collected from all the four mega zones during the mass screening in Thimphu. There are about 30 red buildings and clusters that are being secured with security tapes and people are cautioned not to visit those areas.

“Wangdue, Punakha, Phuentsholing, Samtse, Nganglam, Gelephu, Samdrupjongkhar and Tsirang are still in the “red” and dealing with fresh cases daily,” the press release stated.

Booster doses

Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that residents in Thimphu should not rush for booster doses. “We have enough vaccines and they’ll be rolled out until everyone gets them. We are rolling out in small cohorts to avoid crowding.”

A press release from the health ministry stated that de-suups will deliver tokens to those above 18 years. Residents should present the tokens at the vaccinate centre.

All eligible residents in the green dzongkhags have got the booster dose, according to the minister.