After spending almost a month in the south, His Majesty The King returned to Thimphu on 17th May and entered 7-day facility quarantine. His Majesty The King visited the southern Dzongkhags to oversee containment measures during lockdown in the high risk areas.
Before embarking for Thimphu, His Majesty met with the Southern COVID-19 task force, and said that while it was necessary to be in Thimphu for the opening of the next session of Parliament and other important obligations, His Majesty would return to the south soon.
His Majesty expressed concerns that if the lockdowns prolong or are too numerous, it would disrupt everyday life and have a huge impact on the wellbeing of the people. Our goal must be to restore safety and normalcy at the soonest. Beyond the ongoing lockdowns, His Majesty shared the need to be well prepared for the foreseeable future. As the situation worsens elsewhere, we must be ready to receive many more Bhutanese who will return home, and ensure that they can spend their 21 days of quarantine in a clean and comfortable place. This will be a challenge as quarantine facilities get filled up. His Majesty also expressed concern for the wellbeing and comfort of frontliners who may get fatigued even as their enthusiasm for duty remains unwavering.
Given that the situation is different from last year, His Majesty Commanded that the Task Force take decisive action to prevent any possible lapses and breaches which would expose the high-risk areas to the virus. His Majesty said that these areas are our first line of defence- every effort should be made to keep the people living here safe and free from the anxiety of the pandemic and lockdowns. His Majesty expressed appreciation for having been able to contain the community transmission within Phuentsholing, which has, among other things, allowed us to give the best care to those who tested positive.
His Majesty asked the team to convey heartfelt appreciation to frontliners, health workers, and to all the people in lockdown for playing their respective parts to fight the pandemic with the greatest loyalty and dedication, despite facing difficulties and discomfort.
During the tour, His Majesty visited Gelephu, Samtse, and Samdrup Jongkhar besides Phuentsholing. His Majesty reviewed measures and protocols in place, and visited facilities, high-risk points, and border outposts to personally inspect the conditions on the ground.
His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck accompanied His Majesty on the tour.