After experiencing one of the worst COVID situations in the country for over two months, Wangdue Phodrang is now gradually opening up. The District COVID-19 Task Force transitioned most of the gewogs to green zones upon completing community testing. As of today, only one Mega Zone comprising the Thromde area and Thedtsho Gewog remains as a yellow zone.
Further relaxations in Wangdue began yesterday. Businesses in Bajo town began operating after the town was turned into a yellow zone last Saturday.
People came to buy essentials but not many were seen even after the relaxations.
“People are happy with the news of relaxations. And we will be fine so long as we are happy,” said Dilip Upreti.
“The relaxation in the yellow zones is benefiting the business community. There is a vast difference between the red and yellow zone. It becomes convenient for the people,” said Gyem Thinley.
“Now, our business is slowly picking up. Otherwise, we would have suffered if the restrictions prolonged,” said Lila Maya Bhujel.
“We can get a few customers after the relaxations. Although it is only a handful today, we are hoping there will be more in the coming days,” said Phunsum Namgay.
However, the District Task Force is cautioning the residents to strictly follow safety protocol to avoid the spread of the virus.
“I hope people would have understood well how we suffered during the lockdown. So, I would say it is important for every one of us to protect ourselves and follow necessary health protocols such as hand washing and using face masks,” added Phunsum Namgay, a resident in Bajo.
According to the Task Force, 14 gewogs were transitioned to green zones until Thursday. However, the areas around Punatsangchu Projects are still in yellow zones.
The residents in green zones are allowed to carry out all activities other than organising sports, operating nightclubs, discotheques and mass gatherings.
During the community outbreak in January, about seven gewogs along with the Thromde were identified as the red zone. And about four gewogs were declared as a yellow zone.
According to the Task Force, the current relaxations are being implemented based on the high COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the district. 97 per cent of the eligible individuals in Wangdue have received their COVID vaccine so far.
More than 2,000 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in Wangdue since the detection of the first case in January.
Changa Dorji, Wangdue Phodrang