People have to be vigilant: Health Minister

Health ministry announced yesterday about detecting 29 new Covid-19 cases

With 29 new cases being reported on Friday evening and the total number of active cases reaching to 152 in the country, Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said people have to be vigilant since neighboring countries are also seeing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

“The beneficiaries who are vaccinated should not rely on it, but they also have to continue to maintain social distance, wear masks and practice hand hygiene,” the minister said.

“The health protocols put in place to tackle the Covid-19 will stay for a long time and people will have to keep wearing masks even after the vaccine,” the minister said, adding that the country is a high-risk area in the region for the virus.

According to the minister, masks play an important role in keeping people safe, not only from the Covid-19 but also from many other infectious diseases.

The minister also clarified that there will no lockdown in the country like before after rumors were rife among people that there would be a third lockdown in the country.

According to an office goer that Business Bhutan talked to, the most effective measure would be to stop the import of any kinds for at least one month. This would be the only way of breaking the transmission chain.

Another said that the new virus cases in Phuentsholing actually came from the expatriate workers and the carelessness of concerned government authorities because expatriates entered the country without Covid-19 negative certificates for the last two months.

“I don’t understand the word “imported” in the situation updates. When strictly imposed travel restricts are there within the country and within the dzongkhags, imported cases are happening,” he said.

Meanwhile, many people are also questioning how imported cases of the Covid-19 is happening or increasing here in the country when international borders have remained closed since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

A few are alarmed with the rising cases in the country every day. They are concerned that the government is still allowing hospital referral cases to India and then making patients and escorts come back without a Covid-19 negative certification.

Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said it is good that people are worried about the increasing cases in the country. People are urged to strictly follow Covid protocols and vigilance too.

“There will not be a lockdown or restriction like earlier,” she added.

According to the health ministry, out of 29 news cases as of Friday, 28 of them are from quarantine in Phuentsholing, Thimphu, and Paro. One tested from the community in Samdrup Jongkhar and all his family is in quarantine now.

Meanwhile, a total of 721,983 people have been tested since day one of the lockdown and almost 481,400 have been vaccinated so far.

The minister said there is screening going on in border Dzongkhags, especially in Phuentsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar.

“With a policeman deployed at the police station in the town tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this morning, Samdrup Jongkhar town is under complete lockdown for three days following the detection of a COVID-19 positive case from the community,” the minister added.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu