Just as the second phase of lockdown started in some parts of Samtse, two Covid-19 positive cases were detected in Phuentshopelri (Gomtu) putting the tiny town and the gewog under “restrictive lockdown.”

According to sources, two female employees of Penden Cement Authority Ltd (PCAL), aged 41 and 47, tested positive on RT-PCR during routine surveillance testing.

Samtse dzongkhag Covid-19 task force notified that the case is now considered a community transmission and movement of people and vehicles in Phuentshopelri gewog was completely restricted. All schools, offices, institutions, and industries were also closed.

The two PCAL employees were part of the unloading labour team. They unloaded raw materials, which were transported in Indian vehicles.

Samtse Dzongdag Pasang Dorji, who is also the incident commander of the task force, said they were brought to Samtse. “Contact tracing is underway.”

He said vehicles are also not allowed to move out of the gewog until decisions will be made after the contact tracing results.

Dzongdag Pasang Dorji said Gomtu was initially under lockdown when the first case was detected in Tashichholing last month. 

“But due to the fewer contacts between Tashichholing and Gomtu residents, and as Samtse throm didn’t have primary contacts, Gomtu was given full relaxation.  

Phase-II relaxation

Lockdown relaxation phase-II in Samtse started yesterday.

However, the relaxations are not applicable to Norbugang and Phuentshopelri gewogs.

As per the Task Force, schools in Tashichholing, Samtse throm and Khandothang will resume from today. 

However, students and teachers of Samtse HSS, Samtse LSS and Khandothang Primary School residing in Norbugang will not be allowed to go to their respective schools. Similarly, civil servants, corporate and private employees residing in Norbugang will also remain under lockdown.

All shops are allowed to open from today but a restrictive number of customers have been allowed as of now. About two to five customers are allowed as per the size of the shops.

Shops must maintain adequate space for proper passage of customers.

Eateries, restaurants, barber shops and salons will be allowed to operate at 50 percent of the capacity. However, all are encouraged to opt for delivery and takeaway services. Sitting arrangements also must be aligned as per the reduced capacity.

The business operation timing is from 7am to 8pm and no movements will be allowed after 10pm.

All the sporting activities (both indoor and outdoor) are not allowed. Leisure and entertainment centres such as karaokes, discotheques, snookers, gyms, video game parlours and caroms are also not allowed.

Social events for birthdays, weddings, promotions, official dinners and functions are not allowed. Cremation and funeral rites will be limited to close family circles not exceeding 10 people.

Outdoor activities such as picnic, hiking, swimming and visiting spiritual places are also not allowed.

By Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Edited by Tashi Dema