During the Meet-the-Press held yesterday, the Prime Minister (PM) Dr Lotay Tshering addressed the issue raised as a public concern by some on why the government is calling back Bhutanese who can stay abroad until the threat of COVID-19 is averted or contained.
To this, the PM said that, Bhutanese, regardless of where they are working or whichever part of the world they are in, deserve the same national treatment and that the government will ensure that help is provided.
Adding to it, PM said, “There are people who want to come back home, and so far, we haven’t gotten to the point to collect the people via designated flights, but if need be, we will have to work accordingly with the given situation.”
He said that there are also Bhutanese abroad who want to stay back in the countries they are in for the time being. Earlier in one of the conferences, PM had stated that the biggest threat to our country is from the incoming travelers who may not declare their travel history honestly, and that people should cooperate to ensure that the effort comes from both the sides.
Following that, the PM also highlighted that no Bhutanese abroad are affected with the disease and their health is also being monitored constantly, as of yesterday.
He said that the government’s prior stance on the point is not about making it mandatory for people to come back to the country or to ask them to stay where they are, but it is in ensuring a maximum preventive state for those who come back to Bhutan.
“Currently, the quarantine facility in Bhutan is apart from any other nation, and that our system of operation might very well be an example to the rest of the world,” PM said.
Adding to that he mentioned that around the globe, generally people in quarantine are not tested as much as in our system unless they are put into ‘facility quarantine’- which is actually for the people with suspected primary contact with a positive case.
PM said that he is hopeful of the containment effort, and as of now, there is no community transmission, and only three COVID-19 cases have been detected out of the 400 people who underwent the tests.
The PMO has been facilitating those Bhutanese living abroad through calls or on the social media.