Three new COVID-cases detected yesterday

MoH has tested more than 10,000 people in Thimphu in the past two days

Three new COVID-19 cases were detected on Friday – one from Dechencholing and two from Changzamtog, said Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo during the press brief last night.

All of them are close contacts of the previous cases. Now Thimphu has 376 cases of COVID-19 of which 75 have recovered so far but the health ministry is still testing people in Thimphu and Paro.

Lyonpo said 10,000 people in Thimphu and around 12,000 people in Paro have been tested in the past two days. No one has tested positive for COVID-19 from these tests. “The mass sweeping will be the basis for unlocking the lockdown,” said Lyonpo.

“The ministry has now confirmed 837 cases of which 303 are active cases and 533 have recovered,” Lyonpo said, adding that the screening is still going on.

Around 52,000 people from across the 18 districts have been tested from January 11-13. All tested negative for COVID-19. Hence further relaxations will be implemented in the green districts from tomorrow.

According to Lyonpo Dasho Dechen Wangmo, random testing in Thimphu and Paro will yield results soon. “Likewise, cluster testing is also being done in places with cases,” she said, adding the government has imposed smart lockdown in places like Thimphu that were hotspots for COVID-19.

Lyonpo said testing in other districts where cases have been reported is still ongoing. Apart from mass randomized testing, the health officials are also testing everyone from the buildings where a positive case is detected.

Lyonpo Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that the smart lockdown is proving effective in lowering the number of new cases in the country.

She shared that strict lockdown had to be lifted keeping in view the economic state of the country but imposing smart lockdown is proving helpful.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has completed mass testing in the 18 green districts. Community screening in Thimphu began from Friday. “The objective of the community screening is to assess the COVID-19 situation in the city and to facilitate the phase-wise unlocking of Thimphu.”

“To this effect, we would like to request all the Thimphu residents to abide by the conditions in the enclosed infographics while availing the testing services over the next five days,” said Lyonpo.

Lyonpo shared the smart lockdown model along with the next set of restrictions. MoH will continue to ramp up testing to be able to identify positive cases to have the basis to intervene. “Quarantine facilities will be enhanced to ensure that those who are positive can be isolated.”

“The ministry is still not sure when the vaccine will arrive but when it does, a protocol will be ready to roll it out.

Lyonpo said that the use of facemasks while going out was made mandatory since last month.

“Paro and Thimphu are the most vulnerable places for COVID-19 transmission. To prevent community transmission people must wear masks when they come out from home.”

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu