Most did not wear facemasks in the meeting of ministers and executives despite guidelines to wear them in closed meetings

We should not have community transmission, but in the event it should happen, we are ready: PM

At a meeting with the ministers and executives on 16 July at the Royal University of Bhutan Hall, the Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that the preparations to contain COVID-19 have been very effective, even if there should be a community transmission.

PM said, “From a health perception, with a lot of confidence, I can report that Bhutan is fighting the COVID-19 like no other nation in the world.” PM added that His Majesty’s thoughtful command for “zero death” was an extra inspiration to raise the safety bars since the beginning of the fight with the virus.

PM also said that the first COVID-19 case with the American tourist was like a blessing in disguise as it alerted the nation and the government to take the timely needed precautions.

 He said that the works and the presentations made by the taskforce and the frontline workers to His Majesty The King during the recent tour made by His Majesty in eastern and southern dzongkhags was impressive. He said that the reports added an extra boost of confidence in the surveillance team and that it has been effective enough.

“Even suspicious cases have been quickly tracked down, for instance, the recent Samtse case,” PM added.

 Further on he said that currently the Phuentsholing COVID-19 Taskforce under the Home Secretary has been looking into even the minute plausibility for virus transmission.

“Things as small as vegetable exports, goods being brought inside, problems arising from tobacco products and others, like smuggling of illegal drugs are all being looked at,” the PM said, and further added, “Similarly, Land Commission Secretary has been leading the COVID-19 Taskforce in the east and eastern dzongkhags are being coordinated by Dasho Drungchey.”

The PM stated that the surveillance and other tracking down works have been very impressive as every details, like the population count, the sexual demographics, numbers of schools and students, construction units and the numbers of foreign and Bhutanese workers, shortages of labor, skill-wise worker requirements and other things, have all been identified for each of the dzongkhags, and with the information being made easily accessible to all the Dzongdas.

 He added, “Entry points for every dzongkhag within the country, communications with different dzongkhags, and entry points outside with the neighboring countries, every entry point is being marked and guarded by the frontline taskforce.”

PM said the taskforce even know the names of individuals, people allocated in each guard point, their group leaders and other things are being very well coordinated. He said that people should remember all of His Majesty’s services and the frontline workers’ dedication through such tough times.

 Taking reference from one of His Majesty’s Royal Address on the pandemic, the PM said that if there was to be a social crisis, it would be unbearable beyond the health crisis, and it would be challenging to turn things around.

He said that other countries are already feeling the economic burden through indicators such as economic recession, and that Bhutan has been lucky that His Majesty’s compassionate Kidu has so far made it comfortable for the people to survive the pandemic.

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