Zoning system implemented nationwide

There are 15 super zones, 44 zones and 11 self-contained zones in the capital

As the country imposes a nationwide lockdown to tackle community transmission of the coronavirus, the zoning system has been implemented in the capital and across the country.

Karma Yonten from His Majesty’s Secretariat earlier this week said during a press meet that His Majesty is worried about the difficult times the people of the country will face during the lockdown. Therefore, to avoid any hardships, the zoning system will be opened for the general public so that people can move out in their respective zones “but while moving out of their respective homes, it is important that everyone should follow the safety protocols.”

He said the lockdown this time is not similar to the previous lockdown as earlier, there were only a few cases of COVID-19 cases which were all traced and kept under isolation to avoid further transmission. “This time, contact tracing is still being carried out in the country and there are positive cases being discovered on a regular basis.”

“People’s safety is a must, so when zoning system starts, people will be allowed to move around their respective zones,” he added.

Further, Karma Yonten said the fundamentals of the zoning system will not change. When zoning system was started in the capital, it was divided into Thromde and the two zones: North and South of the Dzongkhag. There are 15 super zones, 44 zones and 11 self-contained zones. So the works have been planned based on the super zones and zone structures.

“It is challenging and risky to deliver vegetables and other items from a centralized location to all the zones across Thimphu,” he said, adding there are more positive cases being detected in the capital and this is one of the reasons that there will not be delivery system this time. It is safer for people to buy the essentials required from the shops then to have a delivery system from the Centenary Farmers’ Market to avoid the possibility of spreading the virus unknowingly.

Moreover, he said during the current lockdown, shopkeepers and all their helpers will be tested before opening their shops, “We are making sure that they are safe before they open their shops.”

He also said the rest of the Dzongkhags are well briefed about the zoning system.

In a press conference earlier this week, Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji also said that the zoning system has commenced and people can come out of their respective residences. “We request everyone to come out of their home only if it is necessary and avoid coming out if it is not mandatory.”

“Currently, we are doing mass testing and no one can say they are totally safe. So we would like to request everyone to stay home until the mass testing is over,” added Lyonpo.

According to Lyonpo, shops are being opened in the zones after the shopkeepers undergo testing. “We are thankful to them for helping the community during the lockdown,” he said, adding that those who have shifted place and are without a movement card or those who have lost their cards can request for new ones by calling 1010.

“We have received requests for 3,000 new movement cards. We are working on it and will provide them as soon as possible,” said Lyonpo.

Sonam Tashi from Thimphu