𝑾𝒉𝒊𝒍𝒆 𝒔𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒓𝒏 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒒𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒆𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒗𝒊𝒅 𝒕𝒂𝒔𝒌𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒉𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒒𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒆𝒅 𝒅𝒖𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒂 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒒𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒇𝒂𝒄𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒘𝒂𝒊𝒕 𝒂 𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒍
In what is a major change in quarantine protocols that were implemented after the detection of the first Covid-19 case in the country, the government announced doing away with the facility quarantine protocol for people traveling from high to low risk areas.
Instead, they can home quarantine (HQ) themselves for a week before leaving.
The announcement of the change in quarantine protocols was first announced through a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on March 19, when the government announced further relaxations of the restrictions in Thimphu and other similar dzongkhags.
According to the announcement, domestic travelers from high-risk areas and districts can now undergo home quarantine and not facility quarantine.
Further, the announcement stated the quarantine duration as seven days until further notice and that people would have to register with the respective dzongkhags via 1010 Help Desk prior to their travel.
While many individuals were pleased with the announcement, a few were also perplexed as to how the home quarantine would be carried out.
However, the zoning team of the National Covid 19 Task Force (NC19TF), in their notification issued on March 23 took out the Home Quarantine SoP.
“With the acceptance of the gradual spreading of the virus in the community as a part of phase II strategy of managing the Covid outbreak, it is imperative that the existing protocol be reviewed and relaxed for people from high risk to low risk areas,” stated the NC19TF’s notification.
It stated that home quarantine is being proposed in place of facility quarantine for travelers from high to low risk areas who have home in these areas.
Another rationale for home quarantine, according to the notification, is to free up space in facility quarantine in the event that the facility quarantine is needed for isolation purposes, and also for facilitating returnees and for in-coming people who don’t have homes in these areas.
Meanwhile, the NC19TF has also asked anyone who wants to home quarantine themselves to register with an e-pass and to call the helpline if they need assistance.
“Travelers should additionally specify their destination, method of transportation, and whether or not they require public transportation, which will be accommodated based on public transportation availability,” states the notification.
According to the Home Quarantine SoP, people living alone must stock enough essential items and medicines refills to last eight days and the monitoring team will closely monitor the home quarantine as DeSuups will be deployed in the region.
Meanwhile, a few people were also curious about the home quarantine protocols when a person was to travel with a large family.
“If that’s the case, travelers are urged to stay in separate rooms,” an official from the Task Force responded. “They will also be tested once before going into home quarantine.”
And if an individual under home quarantine violates the protocols, the monitoring team must notify the appropriate Task Force and necessary action will be done, according to the notification.
The implementation of home quarantine is a part of a phased relaxation for people’s convenience.
The government has also urged the public to adhere to the protocols.
Tshering Pelden from Thimphu