English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 22, 2020

No safety protocol practiced at most bars and restaurants in the Capital


Aug 8, 2020

People in the capital have been seen frequenting bars and restaurants without using facemasks, Druktrace App or maintaining the prescribed physical distance, despite repeated government notifications urging people to follow safety protocols at public places.

Many young people are seen in large groups hitting crowded bars and restaurants, especially in the evenings. The situation is no different in public transportation where many continue to travel without using face coverings.

Speaking to BBS, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said people think that there is a vaccine coming but fail to realise that a vaccine is not a magic bullet that will fix everything.

“Rather than waiting for something uncertain we need to implement precautionary measures that have been already proven scientifically. Right now we know for sure that if we use physical distancing, facemask, practise hand hygiene and cough etiquettes, the spread of the disease can be prevented.”

The use of facemasks in the country was made mandatory in public places such as hospitals, schools, vegetable markets since July and the health ministry has also recommended people to wear facemasks in crowded places and have urged all business establishments and public transportation to follow safety protocols.

However, the reality in many of the crowded bars, restaurants and public transportation in the capital, depicts a blatant disregard and indifference towards safety protocols.

The health ministry said they do not have enough resources or the energy to monitor every place. And they are right. The health ministry has been leading COVID-19 preventive measures day in and out since March. Their limited manpower and technical resources have been stretched to the maximum to manage the increasing number of imported cases, prevent local transmission while ensuring all regular medical services continue to be available to the public.

Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said, “It’s really to do with personal responsibility. From the ministry’s side, we have developed SOPs, we have sent out public notifications, we have sent out Do’s and Don’ts. Everything is being provided. Now do you expect ministry to really go out on enforcement? So I think this is where we really want to request the public to take precautions, follow our SOPS. They are there for a reason.”

An analysis by the World Health Organisation of six million infections between February 24 and July 12 found that the number of infections among people aged 15-24 years has risen to 15 percent from 4.5.

Young people who are hitting nightclubs and beaches are leading a rise in fresh coronavirus cases across the world, with infection among 15 to 24-year-olds, increasing three-fold in about five months.

 

Samten Dolkar

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