Haa declares three regions red zone

Haa residents have been urged to call 1007/1008 for any inquiry or support

After a 16-year-old boy was detected positive in Haa, the COVID-19 Task Force in Haa has declared Haa town, Betso, and Tsilungkhag villages under Uesu Gewog as red zone.

The boy is a student of Gongzim Ugyen Dorji Central School from Beltso village and is a primary contact of a positive case of Shaba in Paro.

He had traveled to Paro during the lomba break and is believed to have come in contact with the positive case in Paro. He had stayed in Paro for more than a week prior to returning to Haa on December 20.

The patient had, however, attended a half-day class on December 21, before being traced as a primary contact of a case in Paro. Immediately he was placed under quarantine.

As soon as the result was known, Haa Dzongkhag issued a notification imposing the lockdown and was declared a red zone.

Earlier as a preventive measure, Haa town was divided into three zones: North, West, and South where people were allowed to move out of their respective houses to purchase essential goods but now with total lockdown, the dzongkhag has temporarily suspended the card system.

Talking to Business Bhutan, Haa Dzongda Kinzang Dorji also the Incident Commander of the Dzongkhag COVID-19 Task Force said since the school where the boy was studying is located right in the heart of the town, Haa was placed under lockdown.

No movement is allowed in and out of the school till the situation improves. Mass testing will be carried out in Gongzim Ugyen Dorji Central school, according to the Dzongda.

However, the authorities concerned will be delivering essential goods to the people in the red zone, while the residents of other gewogs are allowed to move within their gewogs but have to follow safety protocols.

Meanwhile, in Beltsho and Tsilungkhag village, until contacts are traced and the situation improves the village will be considered a red zone. The patient had stayed three nights in his village after coming back from Paro.

The Dzongda also shared that the Dzongkhag task force has isolated themselves by staying in their offices. DeSuups are placed in schools and health workers in hotels as one of the preventative measures.

After the incident, the Dzongda had visited the family members and the villagers of the two villages assuring them not to panic and comply with the safety protocols.

Vulnerable family members and the elderly have been placed in a quarantine facility for safety.

The Dzongda said that it is not a big concern compared to Thimphu and Paro. “The Dzongkhag is well prepared and people should not panic,” he said.

A total of 59 samples from Tsilungkha, Gongzim UDC School, Baytsho and the flu clinic in Haa were collected for rapid Antigen test of which 31 individuals took both the rapid Antigen and RT-PCR test. All tested negative in the former and the results for the latter are awaited.

Five additional individuals were quarantined at Haa Heritage yesterday taking the total quarantined at the facility to 14 -12 male and two female.

The Dzongda also urged Haa residents to call 1007/1008 for any inquiry or support.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu