Bhutan’s COVID-19 numbers and a global comparison

As of 1st January 2021 Bhutan has 689 COVID-19 cases of which 240 are active cases and 449 have recovered with zero deaths so far.

According to the National Statistical Bureau Bhutan’s population in 2020 is 748,931.

On the global stage with around 83 million COVID-19 cases for a global population of 7.594 billion people the global average is 11,059 cases per million population.

This means that if Bhutan performed like most other countries in the world we should be having around 8,000 plus cases by now.

There have been 1.8 million deaths globally coming to an average of 240 deaths per million of the population.

Again if Bhutan had done like most other countries of the world we should be having around 180 deaths by now.

Maldives is surrounded by the sea on all sides and has a population of 515,696 and a GDP that is twice the size of Bhutan. It has 13,757 COVID cases and 48 deaths.

Another country comparable to Bhutan is Luxembourg with around 600,000 people but a GDP that is 30 times that of Bhutan and a far more advanced medical system.

Luxembourg has 46,602 COVID-19 cases and 498 deaths so far.

The neighboring Himalayan country of Nepal as of 1st January 2021 has 261,019 COVID-19 cases with 1,864 deaths. While it is true that Nepal has a much bigger population of 28 million its average works out to 9,322 cases per million and 67 deaths per million.

The numbers are evidence of and speak to a simple fact of Bhutan’s stellar performance in managing COVID-19 in the past year under the leadership of His Majesty The King.

Our numbers are very credible given that we have tested close to half our population in terms of the total numbers of tests which is again among the highest in the world.

The current Community Transmission outbreak seems to be restricted mainly to Thimphu Throm and three Gewogs in Paro. The health minister as early as March 2020 had said that community transmission is inevitable in Bhutan.

Bhutan bought itself valuable time and while our local case numbers rise, it is not in the hundreds or thousands like the global average or even compared to similar countries.

Bhutan under His Majesty’s leadership has achieved a remarkable COVID miracle in the last one year and now we have to maintain the course as the vaccine comes within sight.

 Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis

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