Life over livelihood and opening up not dictated by public pressure: Health Minister

The Health Minister Dechen Wangmo in a press conference yesterday said that there should be a proper balance in the relaxation of health guidelines in order for the economy to recoup.

Lyonpo said, “When we make the health guidelines more stringent the impact on the economy escalates and if we relax the health guidelines the nature of the disease is such that there is a risk and it would again complicate health interventions.”

She added, “Perhaps being a health minister if I had to pick between life and livelihood, life is always my choice”.

Lyonpo stated that going forward, the economic relaxation would be determined looking firstly at how the government can meet His Majesty’s vision and expectations for the virus containment, secondly through the determinants of science and thirdly by looking at the situation on how and when would it be right for the country to relax the measures further.

She said that each country has variant size and population and the decision will be determined based on how things pan out.

As per the Health Minister the post-economic resilience and unemployment have been the biggest concerns for the Prime Minister.

Reportedly, the Economic Minister and Finance Minister have been continuing to plan and address to the problems working in coordination.

Lyonpo said that the government is aware of the difficulties and impact on the private sector, citing an example of Drayangs which have been closed for more than 4 to 5 months as well as the private sectors which solely rely on labor.

She said, “To bring in labor is risky, if more positive case detection happens it will paralyze our health system.”

With growing economic pressures and also pressure from the public to open schools, businesses and bring back a sense of normalcy there is a concern if the government opens up too much to the extent that the virus can spread.

Lyonpo in response to this question said that the government is not acting under any public pressure on this issue. She stated that in her personal opinion the determining factor for any economic relaxation so far had not been due to the pressure or proposals from people.

She added “I think our decision have always been based on science, evidence and what is good for Bhutan”.

Currently there is a committee at the Prime Minister’s Office which facilitates for relaxations in a phase-wise manner.

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