The news of relaxing the COVID restrictions in the new phase of COVID management came as a relief for the residents of Gelephu. The bordering town endured a two-month-long strict lockdown since mid-January due to a surge in COVID infections. However, some residents are worried that the situation might worsen as more people come out in town every day without strictly following the COVID safety protocols.
Gelephu town which remained deserted for almost two months is now returning to normalcy. Businesses are open and the town’s residents are seen crowding the shops. While many can be seen using face masks, they are least bothered about other safety protocols such as washing hands before and after visiting the shops.
“People are coming out in groups and crowding the shops as they have been under lockdown for two months. So, I think it is a must to use hand sanitiser, wash hands,” said Sonam Dorji, a resident of the town.
“I feel the government has taken the right decision because we cannot choose to stay locked up for long. We could end up losing our livelihoods while trying to save lives. However, we should follow COVID protocols including washing hands and using face masks which are doable and people can afford to follow these protocols,” said Jambay Dorji, another resident.
Sarpang district imposed the lockdown on January 16 after a frontline worker tested positive for the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus during routine testing. And the district reported more than 5,000 positive cases of COVID-19 since then.
More than 3,500 individuals have recovered so far.
Karma Wangdi, Gelephu
Edited by Phub Gyem