No reason for people to panic and worry –PM

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The 59-year-old partner of the American tourist, the first patient of COVID-19 case in the country, tested positive yesterday morning, but Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering maintained that there is no reason for people to panic and worry.

“There is no risk for the people since the patient was under quarantine for 14 days. There is no reason for people to panic and worry,” Lyonchhen said during the press briefing in Thimphu yesterday.

Meanwhile, the three primary contacts of the first COVID-19 patient are his partner, a guide, and a driver. Their 14-day quarantine period ended yesterday.

While the guide and the driver have tested negative as of now, the results of the partner of the American tourist turned out positive during the fourth test; she was on the last day of quarantine.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said in the first, second and third tests, the three of them tested negative.

“This was the fourth test run on the primary contacts since the detection of the first case on March 5,” Lyonchhen said, adding that the test was carried out as part of the quarantine process where everybody gets checked to determine the status before the release.

Lyonchhen said the second case has been detected, but there is no need for extra measures in the country. “The only new measure will be putting a medical team to treat the patient,” he said.

“The patient is asymptomatic and healthy. She will be treated here in Bhutan till the results show negative,” Lyonchhen said, adding that she will be monitored in an isolation room from Friday.

Further, the Prime Minister’s Office states that after thorough review and consideration of international best practices, it has been decided that the guide and the driver will continue to stay at the quarantine facility in Motithang.

“While they have tested negative and are doing well, their quarantine is being sustained, subsequent to the second positive case detected in the partner early Friday,” it states.

Lyonchhen said that no test is 100% specific, but the test is highly sensitive in the case of COVID-19. ‘There is no equipment or human error in conducting this test and people should trust the test.’

Lyonchhen said that as of now the guide and the driver tested negative, but they cannot assure that two of them will be forever negative.

“Once the test is positive it is considered as 100% sure and if the test shows negative the test is done again and again to reconfirm the results.”

Despite the detection of the new case, Lyonchhen said Bhutan will continue to remain in the Orange category.

“We are still in a preventative mode. Those who are in quarantines must be considered positive until proven otherwise and they are checked regularly.”

Meanwhile, Lyonchhen also advised the people to take a healthy diet and wash hands regularly.

Lyonchhen added that 85% of the people who eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water would be not easily affected by the virus.

As of now, Bhutan has had two positive cases of COVID-19.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu

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