Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing

Much to the relief of many, the 20-year-old man who entered his village, Tshongzom (Malabasey) of Samtse gewog in Samtse tested twice negative for Covid-19 yesterday.

A rapid test was conducted in Samtse yesterday morning, while the RT-PCR test was conducted in Phuentsholing yesterday evening. Both the tests came out negative.

The man has been quarantined at a facility in Samtse since July 14.

He had entered Tshongzom on July 5 without informing the authorities and undergoing the mandatory quarantine procedures.

Samtse dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said that the man had worked as a handyman.

“He was in Jaigaon before entering the village,” the dzongdag said.

Following the incident, the home ministry yesterday evening notified that the Tshongzom village was placed under community quarantine with immediate effect.

“The duration of the quarantine will be contingent upon the result of the risk assessment by the Ministry of Health,” the notification stated.

Dzongdag Sonam Wangyel said that there were 53 households in the village that were placed under community quarantine. About nine of the total households had primary contact with the person.  

There are about 315 people in this village as per the census records. However, there are about 150 people living in this village as many are expected to be out in other places.

The home ministry’s notification also stated, “the movement of people and vehicles in and out of the affected locality will be restricted forthwith, with the exception of those authorised to provide essential goods and services.”

“The surveillance and testing of the primary contact and community will be carried out as per the health ministry’s protocol.”

Home Minister Sherab Gyeltshen in his notification stated that “Samtse dzongkhag Covid-19 Task Force shall implement the containment measures in full compliance with the government’s directives.”

Samtse has a porous border and the battle against Covid-19 has been a huge challenge since the beginning given the countless informal and illegal points of entry.

Most of the points of entry, including the main checkpoints, are manned but there are many other informal areas from where the movement of people could go unnoticed.

Desuups, police, gewog officials, civil servants, and local volunteers are monitoring the areas day and night.