As Bhutan has imposed another lockdown in border areas, including Phuentsholing, due to an increase in COVID19 positive cases, Bhutan PM Dr Lotay Tshering has urged the people to stay home.

“Please choose to stay home and avoid travelling unless really necessary,” Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Tshering said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

PM Tshering said: “As we resort to yet another lockdown in the border areas, I understand it is a time of great stress and inconvenience again.”

“I am sure you all are worried about the disease, the safety of your children and loved ones, and of the disruption, it could bring to the means of our livelihood.”

Prime Minister Tshering informed that vigorous surveillance and tests are underway in Phuentsholing and all border areas.

As more positive cases surface, the Bhutan PM said “it is evident COVID19 is in our communities”.

“These developments come just as we were cautioning everyone about the alarming spread of the disease in the countries around the globe,” he added.

The PM said His Majesty is immensely concerned that this could be the new infectious viral variant that might lead to another outbreak in our communities.

“His Majesty is more worried about the safety of the people who have not received the vaccine yet,” he said.

The PM said under the guidance, they are strengthening efforts to fight the disease and also to ensure vital goods and services are delivered.

“We will do our best. And as always, I know you will show more tolerance and support. The outcome of the surveillance in the coming days will determine the duration of the lockdown for our friends in the south,” he said.

“But I would like to urge everyone to maintain utmost caution and care irrespective of whether you reside in areas that are in lockdown or not,” the PM urged the people of the country while asking them to stay home and avoid travelling unnecessarily.

“And once again, it is time to show our strength and solidarity against an adversary that has returned with more aggression. It is a testing time. But together, we have succeeded before and we will do it again,” Dr Tshering further said.

In an earlier Facebook post on April 16 night, PM Tshering had said: “All the thromdes and satellite towns in the southern border dzongkhags will be under lockdown for further epidemiological assessment with immediate effect.”

“No movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed in those areas,” he had said.

He had said the National COVID-19 Taskforce arrived at the decision in an emergency meeting conducted after two positive cases of COVID-19 were detected in the community in Phuentsholing on April 16.

“However, all emergency and essential services will be facilitated,” he had said.

“It is also announced that people who travelled from Phuentsholing to other high risk areas in the last 10 days (starting April 7, 2021) should get tested in the nearest clinics,” the Bhutan PM had said.

The PM urged the 165 emergency travellers, who tested negative on RT-PCR and exited Phuentsholing since April 1 for other 10 dzongkhags, to get tested.

The national taskforce decided to immediately enhance surveillance and increase testing in all the high-risk zones starting on April 17.

A 10-year-old male student with symptoms since April 15 visited the flu clinic in Phuentsholing on April 16 morning.

He tested positive on antigen and upon confirmation, he tested positive on RT-PCR at 7 pm.

His mother 29 years, who is asymptomatic, tested negative on antigen but positive on RT-PCR. They have been isolated.

His father tested negative on both antigen and RT-PCR but has been quarantined. His parents, teachers and 35 students in his class were treated as his primary contact.

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