Southern Bhutan under smart lockdown to control COVID-19 spread: Health Minister

Southern Bhutan under smart lockdown to control COVID-19 spread: Health Minister

The government has imposed smart lockdown in the southern places in the country that were potential hotspots for COVID19, said Health Minister Dechen Wangmo during press briefing yesterday.

“MoH is reviewing the current COVID19 situation and smart lockdown is proving very useful to bring down the number of new cases in the country,” she said, adding smart lockdown will be imposed, if any district has to be under lockdown in the future.

Lyonpo shared that strict lockdown in the country had to be lifted by keeping in view the economic condition of the country but imposing smart lockdown is proving helpful.

“There are positive cases in Phuentsholing which are undetected. MoH will not be doing mass testing as before,” Lyonpo said, “with this risk, the seven-day mandatory quarantine for people moving from high-risk to low-risk is being initiated.”

Lyonpo shared the smart lockdown model along with the next set of restrictions. MoH will continue to ramp up testing to be able to identify positive cases to have the basis to intervene. Quarantine facilities will be enhanced to ensure that those who are positive can be isolated. The contact tracing apparatus will also be expanded through the use of technology to be able to find people who may have come in contact with those who tested positive.

According to MoH, 581 individuals in the surveillance zone in Phuentshogling are being tested for COVID-19 after seven days of observation. And more than 300 individuals in the surveillance zone in Samdrup Jongkhar are being tested after 14 days of monitoring.

“If there are no cases from these zones, relaxation will be implemented but if there is any positive case then the areas will be imposing smart model of lockdown and made into red zones,” said Lyonpo.

Lyonpo shared that His Majesty and His Majesty the Fourth King are very worried about COVID-19 spread in the country and its impact and are touring the south. “We have to take up our own responsibilities and strictly follow the COVID norms.”

According to health ministry officials, with a decline in new cases, the excessive load on the hospitals has been controlled due to which healthcare system has seen an improvement.

However, the ministry is still not sure when the vaccine will come but when it comes it will have a protocol ready in place. “We will have a cold chain distribution system where freezer cars or trucks will be used to transport it. We have Nu 25mn for cold chain supply management,” said Lyonpo.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 282 with 57 active cases. Around 225 people have recovered from the disease across the country, according to the data released by the health ministry.

As of today, 64,370 people have been screened in the flu clinics; on an average 205 patients visit flu clinics daily.

pic courtesy: facebook

Kinley Younten from Thimphu