Thimphu enters third full lockdown

Lockdown panic: Residents of Thimphu rushing to buy essential items after lockdown announcement by Health Minister. Crowd busy in different locations causing traffic jam

…for the next 72 hours until the health ministry completes extensive screening of all high-risk groups

Lhakpa Tshering

Following a positive antigen test result in an eight-year-old student of Druk School who was detected from the flu clinic on 12 June, Thimphu has entered its third complete lockdown for three days.

Although the student was tested negative on the RT-PCR, an immediate lockdown is being imposed in Thimphu since the cut-off index (COI) reading on the antigen was very high.

Health minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that the sample for reconfirmation on RT-PCR will be done in the next 48 hours. “This is in keeping with the existing protocol,” she added.

Lyonpo said since the case was from a school where there are big gatherings, and the boy’s parents are shopkeepers, the risk is very high “as we discussed with the medical experts”.

During the lockdown period, Lyonpo said extensive testing and screening of high-risk groups including students of Druk School and their parents, families, and contacts of the student will be carried out. “Our healthcare workers are ready to be deployed,” she said

Lyonpo also said that all people who came to the shop of the boy’s parents at Babesa in the last five days will also be tested. “All people at Babesa will be tested,” said Lyonpo.

The Health Minister said while the unlocking will be initiated depending on the situation, “we request all people to exhibit a strong corporation during lockdown” while also reiterating to strictly follow infection control protocols to curb transmission rates.

All schools, offices, and shops will shut for three days until the health ministry completes case history and contact tracings.

While those who are coming into Thimphu will be facilitated, exit has been stopped immediately.

Prime minister DashoDrLotay Tshering was quoted as saying on PMO that the response is to maintain the highest level of prevention for all, considering the fact that it was a student and the reading on antigen was very high to take any chances. 

“Today is another reality for all of us,” he said. “I request everyone to cooperate and give us support to stop the spread of the disease, just as you did so far.”