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Samtse gradually opens up

By Chimi Wangmo

Samtse, one of the worst coronavirus-hit districts in the country, is seeing a glimmer of hope in the past few days.

With no positive cases from the community since Thursday last week, the lockdown in Samtse Throm has been relaxed from Friday this week.

The district has been under lockdown since Monday last week after a woman tested positive for coronavirus. The government had also triggered lockdown as a means to contain any further spread before the rollout of the second vaccination campaign began.

Following the news of the relaxation, most of the people came out to buy essentials from identified shops that were allowed to open in their respective zones by the dzongkhag covid-19 taskforce.

Dzongkhag officials said only one person from each household is allowed to move within their respective zones as per the timing mentioned in their movement cards. However, individuals residing in red buildings (containment zones) and primary contacts under home quarantine are not allowed to come out.

As per the dzongkhag taskforce inter-zone movement is also not allowed for now.

While controlled movement within select zones will be allowed schools, offices, and institutes will continue to remain closed until further notice. However, constructions and manufacturing activities will be allowed but only in strict self-containment mode with prior approval from the District COVID-19 Task Force.

Residents of Samtse said the relaxations are signal that they are gearing towards the right direction as the dividends of the lockdown are beginning to pay off with no cases reported in the last few days.

โ€œWe wish the situation improves so that our dzongkhag will also be inoculated with the second jab when the rollout begins on 20th,โ€ Tshering Dema, 42, a resident said, adding that almost all residents of the town have been very cooperative with the measures implemented.

She said being under lockdown for a long time has made most of them wary and frustrated and that the second vaccine jab is seen as the ultimate light at the end of the tunnel.

โ€œWe hope to get vaccinated at the earliest and bring an end to this prolonged misery that has crippled us for more than two years now. We desperately need to come back to normal because we cannot continue to go on this way,โ€ she said, adding that business has also plummeted to their lowest in years.

Meanwhile, the District COVID-19 Task Force reminded the residents to strictly follow the movement restriction protocols and adhere to the health safety advisories to fully contain the transmission of the virus in the Dzongkhag before July 20.

The dzongkhag plans to roll out the vaccination programme along with the rest of the country as planned.

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