2,500 bedded quarantine facilities under construction in the south

1,000 bedded quarantine facility in Gelephu, 500 bedded ones in Samtse, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Phuentsholing to be completed in four to five months

With a capital of about Nu 500 mn, 2,500 quarantine facilities are being constructed in the southern region of the country.

Currently, the project is being monitored by the respective Thromde and Dzongkhag of the place.

According to an official from Phuentsholing Thromde’s, “Once the building of the quarantine facilities is completed, we will have to hand over the facilities to the concerned authority for operation.”

The new quarantine facilities are expected to help with the paucity of quarantine facilities for both foreigners and citizens of Bhutan who are traveling to the country from high risk areas. People are confined in Thimphu or other dzongkhags when there aren’t enough hotels in the south.

Phuentsholing Thromde’s official, Dorji said that the construction of the quarantine facilities in the south is divided into two batches. The first batch is being constructed by Rigsar Construction and the Second by Penjor Construction under the Ministry of Work and Human Settlement (MoWHS)

He said, “The first batch’s budget is about between Nu 200mn to 250mn, and the second batch is built on a similar scale.”

There will be 32 buildings at the 500-bed quarantine facility in Phuntsholing, near Ammochu, with 12 being two-storied and 12 being one-storied.

Similarly, the number of buildings and the number of floors will be the same in Samtse and Samdrup Jongkhar, but the 1000-bed facility in Gelephu will differ.

Meanwhile, Dechen, one of the members of the Southern COVID task force said, “The quarantine facility will accommodate all the people if there is an outbreak like the last one we had in the future.” He added that the rationale for having the self-contained quarantine centers is due to continued high demand for foreign workers, particularly for the hydropower and construction sectors, uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of adequate and safe quarantine facilities at ports of entry, to mitigate risks of transmission and spread of COVID 19. As most hotels used as quarantine facilities are located in towns and residential areas, there are risks associated.

Meanwhile, the government has spent millions of Ngultrums because of the severe lack of quarantine facilities and the use of schools and hotels as quarantine facilities in the southern part of the country. Positive cases were surging high and it was almost becoming difficult to manage in the south of the nation where we share a long and porous border with our neighbor India. Due to ongoing detection, several dzongkhags have gone through an extended lockdown.

Therefore the dedicated quarantine facilities in the south, which will be completed in the coming four to five months have the same design as the pedestrian terminal in Phuntsholing, with the prefabricated building which is being imported from the India.

Tshering Pelden from Thimphu