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Bhutan has one of the highest per capita testing rates globally

DIGEST-ENG-11-09-2020-Bhutan

Most Covid-19 positive cases detected after the nationwide lockdown was linked to earlier patients, but not all.

The recent positive case in Samdrupjongkhar is one such exception.

The 18-year-old woman tested positive on September 7 after she visited a flu clinic. She had no recent travel history to an affected place owing to the 21-day lockdown.

As of September 8, all her primary contacts (23) including family members and neighbours, tested negative to the virus.

With no likely source of infection established, for now, speculations are rife.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said that epidemiologically there was not much of a confusion.

She said that people must not associate not having the disease with lockdowns. “Lockdown is only a means of preventing the spread of transmission. But it does not guarantee a person from not getting infected.”

Lyonpo said that there is no guarantee that people would not get infected during lockdowns. “Can I ensure that 100 percent of the population would have stayed home and not gone outside during the lockdown? Not really.”

She said residents could have gone out and mingled during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

On the confusion regarding her contacts testing negative, Lyonpo said that the negative results were for now. 

She said that generally, the RT-PCR test picks up the virus after four to five days post-infection.

“We have to consider the exposure duration. Probably the test has not picked up the virus because it was too early.”