Younten Tshedup 

Two Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) artists who tested positive for Covid-19 while in Bangladesh during Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s recent visit are recovering in a hospital in Dhaka.

A team of 22 artists from RAPA were part of Lyonchhen’s delegation to Dhaka as a cultural troupe for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.

According to a source, the artists tested positive before returning to Bhutan after a week-long stay in Dhaka.  On March 24, on the day of the team’s performance in Dhaka, one of the musicians complained of headache and fever at the performance venue.

He was then taken to a first aid tent where a Covid-19 rapid test was conducted.  The result was positive.  He also tested positive on the confirmatory RT-PCR test.

According to the source, following the incident, as primary contacts of the man, the entire RAPA team were held back from returning with the rest of the entourage as scheduled.

Lyonchhen and other members of the entourage returned on March 25.  They were all tested yesterday and the results will be out today.

The remaining artists, 21 of them, were tested again when another female dancer tested positive.  She was admitted in the same hospital as her colleague, while the rest of the team who tested negative were flown out on March 28 in a special Drukair flight.  They are currently under 21-day quarantine.

Sources said that the duo are in stable condition and are being treated at Sheikh Russel hospital in Dhaka. “As a government guest, the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh is also constantly monitoring their condition. Bhutanese Embassy is also in contact with them and their doctor on a regular basis.”

It was learnt that the two artists could have picked up the infection on their arrival in Dhaka.  Prior to their departure on March 19, the entire entourage was tested for Covid-19 in Bhutan.

After their arrival, the team was tested again on March 22, a day prior to Lyonchhen’s arrival in Dhaka.  All of them tested negative. “Not sure if they went around shopping but most likely they picked it up after their arrival in Bangladesh,” said a source.

The team was kept at a Four-Star Hotel — Fars Hotel.  It was also learnt that the cultural troupe did not have any official meeting with Lyonchhen and the rest of the entourage members.

The health ministry did not share details of the incident.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has been seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases since March this year.  The infection continued to remain above 5,000 for the second consecutive day on Tuesday in the country with the total infection reaching more than 606,000 so far.

The number of new Covid-19 infections over the last two days is the highest since the first positive case was detected in Bangladesh last year.  The country also saw 45 deaths in a row taking the death toll to 8,994.