Kelzang Wangchuk | Nganglam

Nganglam residents in Pemagatshel now have to travel 55km to Panbang in Zhemgang for the week-long facility quarantine for routine travel as the quarantine centre in Nganglam is in the red zone.

The Drungkhag Covid-19 Task Force sent more than 45 people to Panbang for quarantine after consulting with Zhemgang dzongkhag administration since June 23.

The task force sent 17 people to Panbang on July 1. Travellers are sent for quarantine on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The facility quarantine centre in Nganglam is located at the Dungsam Cement Corporation Limited’s (DCCL) premises. However, the DCCL is declared as the red zone after detecting the positive cases from its premises.

Residents of Nganglam have to undergo a week-long mandatory quarantine if they have to travel to the low-risk areas because Nganglam is a high-risk area.

Residents said that since the quarantine centre at the DCCL is declared a red zone, they are worried about the quarantine facility should they travel to the low-risk areas during emergencies.

A corporate employee on tour in Nganglam, Thinley, applied for routine quarantine after completing his official work.

Thinley said that officials told him they would inform him after discussing with the Panbang drungpa if there are any empty rooms as he would have to go to Panbang for the quarantine.

He said: “The drungkhag task force should at least look for alternative facilities in Nganglam. It’s their responsibility.”

A resident, Sherab, said it takes about two and half hours to reach Panbang as the road condition is terrible and that it is risky to travel because of the heavy monsoon rain. “It would help if the task force could find alternative facilities in Nganglam town.”

He said that those who do not own cars would face challenges to travel to Panbang as they have to pay Nu 3,500 in taxi fare. “It’d be a burden to both the people and the task force as the officials have to request the Zhemgang dzongkhag administration.”

The incident commander (IC) and Pemagatshel dzongdag, Yeshey Rangrik Dorjee, said they sent people to Panbang for quarantine based on urgency.

He said the task force could not use the hotels in the town for quarantine because there are tenants, shops and restaurants in the buildings.

The drungkhag office has been converted into a quarantine facility but could not be used since it is required for mass testing.

Edited by Tshering Palden