English | Dzongkha Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Mass testing to be based on scientific evidence from randomised testing


Jan 12, 2021

As the lockdown continues in Paro and Thimphu, people are questioning the Health Ministry’s plan on mass testing. There are different views on social media as to why the ministry is not carrying out mass testing in the red zone.

One of the netizens on Facebook wrote, “had the mass testing of Thimphu residents been carried out as requested by netizens at the onset of the outbreak, could this two-week lockdown have been avoided?”

While others expressed that the change of plan rolled out by the Ministry on mass testing could be due to lack of testing kits.

However, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, during the press brief yesterday clarified that the mass testing should be carried out based on the evidence from randomised testing.

“As per science, we have to study the situation first. From the randomised testing conducted, we could understand the situation of the virus spread.  From that, we can know which location has more cases. For example, there were many cases from around Terma Linca, so we have tested all in that zone. Similarly, there were cases from Tsalu-Maphey and there too, we tested everyone,” said Lyonpo.

The minister also said that some of the close contacts in the quarantine are of the view that the ministry is not testing them.

“For the ones in quarantine, we conduct a test three times. The first within two to five days, the second in 14 days and the last after 21 days. We release the person from quarantine if the person tests negative in all the tests. Some people identified as primary contacts expect ministry to test them the very next day. It is not like that,” added Lyonpo.

Meanwhile, the ministry so far conducted nearly 9,000 tests each in Thimphu and Paro.

Kinley Dem

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