Last month, the threat of the pandemic became very real for Bhutan when the first COVID-19 cases were detected outside the quarantine facilities
Last month, the threat of the pandemic became very real for Bhutan when the first COVID-19 cases were detected outside the quarantine facilities. It was extremely worrying to find several positive cases, in more than one place. Those who contracted the virus and their loved ones have suffered a great deal of anxiety.
A nationwide lockdown was introduced with immediate effect to contain the virus. The entire population had to stay home for weeks, stopping work, losing income, and running out of food and essentials. Yet, our people fully understood the magnitude of the threat we face, and willingly endured the discomfort and hardship, extending their wholehearted support to the government. I thank our people for being concerned about the collective good and showing exceptional forbearance and resilience.
We closed our international borders in March. But, in the following months, there has been no sign that the COVID-19 pandemic will end. It has continued to spread; bringing illness, death, and distress to so many people around the world. In comparison, we were able to lead reasonably normal lives in Bhutan with some disruptions caused by just a few cases. The government, led by the Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering, has worked tirelessly over the past six months. Many public servants have put in long hours of work. Health Minister Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, the health ministry– secretary, doctors, nurses, technicians, and other health workers – have been serving without even a day’s rest. The armed forces – RBA, RBP and RBG – supported by Desuups and numerous other volunteers, have served with inexhaustible strength and energy. Most importantly, their work has been strengthened by the unwavering sense of civic duty of the people. All these efforts have culminated in our success so far.