However, they must undergo the RT-PCR test
Though the quarantine requirement from Thimphu and Paro is being lifted, outbound travelers from Thimphu will be tested at different highway locations from February 1 to heighten surveillance, according to Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering during his address to the nation on Friday.
Flu clinics will be set up between Menchuna and Lobesa for those traveling to the east and one at Chunzom for travelers to the south. Besides random testing of travelers along the check points, the public transport drivers will have to undergo mandatory testing after every two weeks.
The complete unlocking process for Thimphu will begin from February 1 (Monday).
Inter-dzongkhag movement will be allowed; public transport such as buses and taxis can operate from Monday.
However, the seven-day mandatory quarantine will continue for those travelling from high risk to low risk areas. All travelers must register with the Check Post Management System (CPMS) prior to their travel.
“In what is the convergence of His Majesty’s blessings, prayers of our religious bodies, hard work of the frontline workers and support of every Bhutanese, the nation saw a successful lockdown,” Lyonchhen said.
After more than 40 days of the lockdown, over 280,000 tests for COVID-19 nationwide and more than 140,000 tests in Thimphu alone, “we are confident that the disease is under control, and limited only to the facilities,” said Lyonchhen.
Bhutan also takes pride in having tested every household twice in the capital, almost a record of sorts to prepare for the lifting of the lockdown.
Lyonchhen said that during the second sweeping more than 30,000 individuals were tested from each household and all of them tested negative.
However, those stranded in Thimphu will have to undergo the RT-PCR test and will be allowed to move from Monday.
Lyonchhen said that concerted efforts are being made to heighten surveillance along the borders and entry points with enhanced vigilance and improved operating procedures.
Additionally, mandatory COVID-19 test will be carried out every two weeks for health workers, Desuups, police, bus drivers and taxi drivers.
More tests for COVID-19 will be conducted among the business community for staff of restaurants, bars and grocery shops.
Similarly, random testing for students and teachers will be carried out every two weeks. Health focal persons have been identified to monitor compliance and surveillance on campus.
Additional mobile flu clinics will also be introduced in busy public places.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is also gearing up to enhance surveillance system to ensure early and timely detection of COVID-19 cases in the long run. The mobile flu clinic is one of the strategic interventions that MoH introduced during the second lockdown to contain the spread and enhance early detection of COVID-19.
“Though it will cost the country, the government is willing to spend on the tests and health workers are ready to serve the country. In a day around 20,000 tests need to be carried out,” said Lyonchhen.
Dechen Dolker from Thimphu