English | Dzongkha Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Bhutan detects two more cases of COVID-19


May 12, 2020

The country has again detected two more positive cases of coronavirus this morning. Both the individuals returned to the country from the Middle East. With this, the country has now 11 positive cases.

154 samples were tested at the Royal Centre for Disease Control yesterday. Of them, two samples from a 25-year-old male and a 27-year-old female tested positive for coronavirus. While the man came on 9th May on a repatriation flight, the woman arrived yesterday and was detected with the virus upon her arrival. They are both moved to the isolation ward in Thimphu.

Starting 22nd of April, everybody on the flight back is tested within three days of their arrival irrespective of showing symptoms or not.

Dr Tshokey, the Clinical Microbiologist at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) shares about the change in the testing strategy. “And now the latest strategy is anybody coming from outside will be tested immediately if the person shows signs and symptoms upon the arrival in the airport. And for others without signs and symptoms, we will test within three days from the day of arrival. Mostly we will do on the third day because as I explained, by the third day, we would be able to catch those who are already infected and also some unfortunate infections in the airlines as well,” he said.

Citing the example of the two positive cases detected this morning, he added that every person who is in the country will now have at least two tests done including one PCR test within three days of their arrival. The rapid test will be conducted after completing the 21-day quarantine period. The primary contacts of the positive cases such as their roommates’ quarantine period are also extended for another 21 days. He added that primary contacts other than their roommate includes people who were two rows in the front, two rows at the back and the one who sat together on the flight. It is said that one of the inconveniences that increase the number of primary contacts happens in quarantine centre despite stringent rules.

“After someone tests positive, then we find out some incidences where people have come in contact which is not supposed to happen. For instance, if somebody in room number one tests positive, and when we try to dig out the history, he or she will reveal that they have contacts with the person in room number two. They have been exchanging edibles through the veranda and all those things which were not supposed to happen. And people come forward only when someone tests positive,” he added.

Since such cases are against the quarantine protocols, he said, the extension of a quarantine period with own expenses and 10 days community service will be applied to this as well.

While Bhutan has now 11 cases, one new case of Bhutanese with COVID-19 has also been detected in Kuwait. This brings the total number of people outside Bhutan infected with the virus to 18.

Samten Dolkar

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