With no guarantee of stopping the virus
Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering said that on the issue of closing of tourism people say they gave advice, but they did not give it officially through the government. The PM said he heard about a lot of people writing about this on the social media but it is now a matter of ‘I told you so,’ though if the virus came through a Bhutanese businessman then some would say they said so too.
He said nobody really knew that Corona would come through tourists and his worry was on around 1,000 big and small hotels and restaurants, around 5,000 guides and around 4,000 agents and there are around 37,000 working in hotels and restaurants coming to a total of around 50,000.
He said that if the government had stopped tourism them the livelihood of these 50,000 would be affected and the government would have to resolve it.
Lyonchhen said that the two main worries of Corona virus was in terms of firstly death of the afflicted patients and secondly in terms of the economic impact on the nation and how it would impact the livelihood of people.
He said that tourism has been stopped from today for two weeks but those who have reached today will have to be taken care of. He said the stoppage of tourists would help the government to do contact tracing within the two weeks.
He said if the situation is better and there is not much international threat level then there is a chance to allow tourism again.
However, if there are many cases among the first contact cases and there are cases in other Dzongkhags then tourism would not be opened again.
The PM said that tourists referred to all whether they came by land or air or for leisure or work and all have been stopped.
Lyonchhen said that the government decided to allow entry in Phuentsholing up to Kharbandi check post or the alternate is to stop all trade and commerce which would lead to economic paralysis.
He said the border towns have not been shut. He said in border areas if there are many cases then entry would have to be stopped from the border town itself.
Lyonchhen also said that all construction workers and other labourers would be stopped for now and not be allowed across Kharbandi for now.
The government will keep the public updated on its measures on tourism.