Over 2,000 people tested in flu clinics

People should be visiting the flu clinics if one is having flu-like symptoms, urges health ministry

Since the national lockdown, a total of 2,052 people have been tested in the flu clinics across the country as of December 23.

The three flu clinics at Thimphu have tested 435 people as of December 23.

Since the lockdown, from day one to five, 1,717 individuals were tested in the country excluding quarantine facilities and from Thimphu, 19 cases were found positive: six community transmission cases, eight contacts and five from the flu clinics.

According to the health ministry, 20 new cases were detected as of December 24: 12 male, eight female ranging from 1-66 years. One is a close contact detected in Trongsa, another a close contact in Haa, two are expatriates at quarantine facility in Phuentsholing, three are close contacts in Paro, two being close contact in Bumthang and 11 were detected in Thimphu of which eight are close contacts and three were detected from mass screening.

The ministry has stated that people should be visiting the flu clinics if one is having flu-like symptoms at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), Nima High School at Taba or in Changrigphel School located at Olakha.

It has urged those who are symptomatic to visit the flu clinics and avoid unnecessary gatherings. While visiting the flu clinics, the general public can call or text the DeSuups on duty to find out if it is a good time to visit the flu clinic.

Talking about rumors circulating that the flu vaccine caused the community outbreak of COVID-19, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo during a live press meet earlier this week said flu vaccines do not cause COVID-19. “We would like to clarify that the rumor is baseless and untrue as WHO prequalified flu vaccines which are also widely used in other countries were used during the recent vaccination drive.”

Lyonpo said that for the safety of the general public, they have started community testing and they urge everyone to cooperate with the authorities and come forward for testing as per the directives. “As per the plan, we are planning to test around 10, 000 people from the capital.”

“We are testing one person from each household randomly and we would like to request everyone to come forward and avoiding gatherings,” added Lyonpo.

The MoH has also requested the public not to generate or circulate false information which creates unnecessary panic in the community.

The ministry has also requested the people to follow instructions from the DeSuups who will call up households for testing as more than 40 teams from the Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC) have been deployed to collect 8, 400 samples from randomly selected households across 44 zones in Thimphu.

For such an event, the public is requested to safety protocol such as wearing face mask, maintaining physical distance of 1m, avoiding touching the face and washing hands with soap and water immediately after getting back home.

Sonam Tashi from Thimphu