Update from Bhutan this August
Here's a quick update on our situation here in Bhutan.
We have been so incredibly lucky that up until now we've had no community transmission of the virus and no deaths. This is because of the remarkable diligence and enlightened leadership of His Majesty the King as well as our Hon. Prime Minister, Health Minister, Foreign Minister, and everyone at all levels of the government who have kept us safe. I want to also mention the almost 16,000 Desuup (National Guard) volunteers across the country who are on the front lines along with the police and army to keep the virus out of Bhutan. Most of them are guarding the border with India so that nobody comes in or goes out of Bhutan.
His Majesty just returned from two weeks tour of the southern border with India. The south is an obvious area of concern since the southern border is quite porous and the virus is out of control in India. According the Bhutan Broadcasting Service, "In Phuentsholing, where the temperatures have soared to over 40 degrees Celsius this past week, His Majesty walked across six villages along the border in Sampheling Gewog, meeting people and reminding them of the dangers if the virus spreads in the community. While going from village to village, His Majesty also visited all the outposts along the way and met with volunteers on patrol duty.” His Majesty's granular attention to every possible detail of this fight against the virus gives all of us in Bhutan a great deal of courage and resolve that, whatever happens here, we are deeply cared for by this extraordinary monarch.
His Majesty talking with a woman at the border.
As of today, August 11th, all of Bhutan is locked down as one Bhutanese woman who returned from Kuwait in June has, after numerous negative tests, just tested positive for the virus. After her 25 day quarantine she came to Thimphu for a week and then went home to Gelyphu. The government is tracing her contacts. At this writing there are 211 primary and 81 secondary contacts who came into contact with her. Everyone is hoping our extraordinary luck holds out and she hasn't infected anyone.
Since March we’ve all been urged to stay home, wear masks when out, store several months worth of food, plant gardens, wash our hands and social distance, so we are prepared for the lockdown. In fact, last week the government conducted a mock lockdown to make sure everything was in place in the event of a real lockdown. So here we are.
Thank you for reading this and for your interest in Bhutan. Please keep us in your thoughts and we will do the same for you, wherever in the world you may be.
Today in Thimphu.