Nima Wangdi

Many Thimphu residents are questioning why the health ministry is conducting contact tracing a week after a Covid-19 positive case was reported from the mother and child hospital.

The health ministry announced that people who visited the Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck Mother and Child Hospital in Thimphu on February 15 should visit the nearest flu clinic for Covid-19 testing on the night of February 23.

The ministry also asked passengers who travelled in city buses plying from Babesa to Changzamtok from 10am to 11:30am and Changzamtok to Babesa from 6:30pm to 8pm from February 15 to 19 to visit the flu clinics.

“I cannot believe that the ministry is contact tracing after a week,” a corporate employee, Pema, said. “Why didn’t the officials announce this on February 15.”

He said people were talking about the positive case at the mother and child hospital, but he relied on the ministry. “How many parents must have taken their children to the hospital after the positive case.”

People said that the health ministry did not share the information on the incident immediately. “Without the knowledge, many mothers took their babies and children to the hospital in the following days exposing the children to the virus,” Yangdey from Babesa said.

She said she would not have taken her niece if she knew about the case.

Another resident in Zilukha said he heard a person testing positive had visited the hospital but there was no official announcement. “I simply thought it was rumours. Contact tracing after about a week now shows it wasn’t a rumours.”

People also accused the health ministry of hiding information on community cases and blamed the public when things went wrong.

Another netizen said the officials at the MCH were working in full PPE and some mothers were told to home quarantine for a week. “But the ministry still did not announce the case details to the public, not even today.”

A resident in Babesa also said contact tracing after one week is late. The contacts must have travelled everywhere by now.

It was learnt that an expecting mother visited the hospital and she tested positive.

“Most of the health officials working there are primary contacts,” a source said.

Health ministry officials said people have used DrukTrace app and they started contact tracing ever since they detected the case.