COVID-19 situation in P/ling is getting better: COVID-19 TAG

As of yesterday, Phuentsholing’s positivity rate stands at 0.025%

The COVID-19 outbreak situation in Phuentsholing is getting better as confirmed positive cases are either from the contacts or from the same cluster, said Dr Tshokey from the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group.

As of yesterday, 13 new cases were detected among the Bhutanese, seven contacts and one from the community in Phuentsholing, and five imported ones in Paro and Thimphu.

Since the lockdown in Phuentsholing on April 17, there were 125 positive confirmed cases, 20 from the community and 105 from the contacts.

The total of 24,457 were tested in Phuentsholing since the lockdown of which 314 were done in the last 24 hours.

The positivity rate, number of positive cases by the total number of samples tested, in Phuentsholing stands at 0.025% as of yesterday.

Dr Tshokey said the positivity rate is tricky as it would be low if there were not much tests conducted, and if the tests were carried out only for certain sections of the society with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are more likely to be positive.

Additionally, he said testing a remote community with lesser population or low risk areas and country, that does not test at all, would have low positivity rate.

However, Dr Tshokey said those having high positivity rate would not necessarily mean high COVID-19 cases in the country because the testing would have been less.

The World Health Organization encourages every country to test as much as possible where positivity rate is less than 5%, said Dr Tshokey.

He added that screening, adequate testing and testing the population supposed to be tested has to be included while calculating the positivity rate, adding that Bhutan has been conducting testing people in the community, front liners, hospitals, taxi drivers and shopkeepers, among others.

Since the first confirmed positive case in the country, Bhutan has overall tested a total of 738,413 people and has 1,276 confirmed cases.

Dr Tshokey said on daily growth rate and R number (R is the number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to, on average) of the COVID-19, it does not apply to our setting.

“We are still in conservative, preventive mood, as we cordoned-off and quarantine primary contacts and travellers from high risk to low risk areas as far as possible.” He added, “Global herd immunity is not possible in another two years or may not even get vaccinated.”

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu