COVID-19 pandemic in Bhutan

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COVID-19 pandemic in Bhutan
Bhutan-map-blank.png
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationBhutan
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseParo
Arrival date6 March 2020
(1 year, 3 months, 1 week and 3 days)
Confirmed cases1,842[1] (15 June 2021)
Active cases345
Deaths
1
Government website
https://www.gov.bt/covid19/

The COVID-19 pandemic in Bhutan is part of the worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The virus was confirmed to have reached Bhutan on 6 March 2020, when a 76-year-old American tourist who had travelled from India tested positive for COVID-19.[2]

The country subsequently implemented strict containment measures, and was able to largely stamp out the outbreak.[3]

Background[edit]

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[4][5] The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[6][7] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[6][8]

Timeline[edit]

COVID-19 cases in Bhutan  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
2020202020212021
MarMarAprAprMayMayJunJunJulJulAugAugSepSepOctOctNovNovDecDec
JanJanFebFebMarMarAprAprMayMayJunJun
Last 15 daysLast 15 days
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2020-03-06
1(n.a.)
1(=)
2020-03-20
2(+100%)
2(=)
2020-03-25
3(+50%)
3(=)
2020-03-29
4(+33%)
4(=)
2020-04-01
5(+25%)
2020-04-02
5(=)
5(=)
2020-04-20
5(=)
2020-04-21
6(+20%)
2020-04-22
7(+17%)
2020-04-23
7(=)
7(=)
2020-04-27
7(=)
7(=)
2020-05-09
7(=)
2020-05-10
9(+29%)
2020-05-11
11(+22%)
2020-05-12
11(=)
2020-05-13
15(+36%)
2020-05-14
20(+33%)
2020-05-15
21(+5%)
21(=)
2020-05-20
21(=)
21(=)
2020-05-23
24(+14%)
24(=)
2020-05-27
28(+17%)
2020-05-28
31(+11%)
2020-05-29
33(+6.5%)
2020-05-30
37(+12%)
2020-05-31
37(=)
2020-06-01
47(+27%)
47(=)
2020-06-04
48(+2.1%)
48(=)
2020-06-07
59(+23%)
2020-06-08
59(=)
2020-06-09
59(=)
2020-06-10
59(=)
2020-06-11
62(+5.1%)
2020-06-12
62(=)
2020-06-13
62(=)
2020-06-14
66(+6.5%)
2020-06-15
67(+1.5%)
2020-06-16
2020-06-17
67(n.a.)
2020-06-18
2020-06-19
68(n.a.)
2020-06-20
2020-06-21
68(n.a.)
2020-06-22
69(+1.5%)
2020-06-23
70(+1.4%)
2020-06-24
70(=)
2020-06-25
70(=)
2020-06-26
70(=)
2020-06-27
76(+8.6%)
2020-06-28
76(=)
2020-06-29
77(+1.3%)
2020-06-30
77(=)
2020-07-01
77(=)
2020-07-02
77(=)
2020-07-03
78(+1.3%)
2020-07-04
78(=)
2020-07-05
80(+2.6%)
2020-07-06
80(=)
2020-07-07
80(=)
80(=)
2020-07-10
82(+2.5%)
2020-07-11
82(=)
2020-07-12
84(+2.4%)
2020-07-13
84(=)
84(=)
2020-07-16
86(+2.4%)
2020-07-17
87(+1.2%)
2020-07-18
87(=)
2020-07-19
89(+2.3%)
2020-07-20
90(+1.1%)
2020-07-21
92(+2.2%)
2020-07-22
92(=)
2020-07-23
92(=)
2020-07-24
92(=)
2020-07-25
93(+1.1%)
2020-07-26
95(+2.2%)
2020-07-27
99(+4.2%)
2020-07-28
99(=)
2020-07-29
101(+2%)
2020-07-30
101(=)
2020-07-31
101(=)
2020-08-01
102(+0.99%)
2020-08-02
103(+0.98%)
2020-08-03
103(=)
2020-08-04
105(+1.9%)
2020-08-05
105(=)
2020-08-06
108(+2.9%)
108(=)
2020-08-09
110(+1.9%)
2020-08-10
113(+2.7%)
2020-08-11
116(+2.7%)
2020-08-12
128(+10%)
2020-08-13
131(+2.3%)
2020-08-14
133(+1.5%)
2020-08-15
138(+3.8%)
2020-08-16
141(+2.2%)
2020-08-17
146(+3.5%)
2020-08-18
147(+0.68%)
2020-08-19
150(+2%)
2020-08-20
153(+2%)
2020-08-21
154(+0.65%)
2020-08-22
155(+0.65%)
2020-08-23
155(=)
2020-08-24
156(+0.65%)
2020-08-25
173(+11%)
2020-08-26
183(+5.8%)
2020-08-27
184(+0.55%)
2020-08-28
195(+6%)
2020-08-29
2020-08-30
224(n.a.)
2020-08-31
225(+0.45%)
2020-09-01
227(+0.89%)
2020-09-02
227(=)
2020-09-03
227(=)
2020-09-04
228(+0.44%)
2020-09-05
2020-09-06
230(n.a.)
2020-09-07
233(+1.3%)
2020-09-08
234(+0.43%)
2020-09-09
235(+0.43%)
2020-09-10
238(+1.3%)
2020-09-11
241(+1.3%)
2020-09-12
244(+1.2%)
2020-09-13
245(+0.41%)
2020-09-14
246(+0.41%)
2020-09-15
246(=)
2020-09-16
246(=)
2020-09-17
252(+2.4%)
2020-09-18
258(+2.4%)
2020-09-19
258(=)
2020-09-20
259(+0.39%)
2020-09-21
261(+0.77%)
2020-09-22
261(=)
2020-09-23
261(=)
2020-09-24
263(+0.77%)
2020-09-25
263(=)
2020-09-26
271(+3%)
2020-09-27
273(+0.74%)
2020-09-28
273(=)
2020-09-29
280(+2.6%)
2020-09-30
282(+0.71%)
2020-10-01
282(=)
2020-10-02
283(+0.35%)
2020-10-03
283(=)
2020-10-04
298(+5.3%)
2020-10-05
299(+0.34%)
2020-10-06
300(+0.33%)
2020-10-07
304(+1.3%)
2020-10-08
304(=)
2020-10-09
304(=)
2020-10-10
306(+0.66%)
2020-10-11
309(+0.98%)
2020-10-12
309(=)
2020-10-13
313(+1.3%)
2020-10-14
316(+0.96%)
2020-10-15
316(=)
2020-10-18
325(n.a.)
2020-10-19
330(+1.5%)
2020-10-20
331(+0.3%)
2020-10-21
332(+0.3%)
2020-10-22
332(=)
2020-10-23
336(+1.2%)
2020-10-24
340(+1.2%)
2020-10-25
342(+0.59%)
2020-10-26
342(=)
2020-10-27
345(+0.88%)
2020-10-28
346(+0.29%)
2020-10-29
346(=)
2020-10-30
348(+0.58%)
2020-10-31
348(=)
2020-11-01
354(+1.7%)
2020-11-02
354(=)
2020-11-03
358(+1.1%)
2020-11-04
358(=)
2020-11-05
358(=)
2020-11-06
358(=)
2020-11-07
359(+0.28%)
2020-11-08
359(=)
2020-11-09
364(+1.4%)
2020-11-10
364(=)
2020-11-11
364(=)
2020-11-12
364(=)
2020-11-13
369(+1.4%)
2020-11-14
375(+1.6%)
2020-11-15
375(=)
2020-11-16
377(+0.53%)
2020-11-17
378(+0.27%)
2020-11-18
378(=)
2020-11-19
378(=)
2020-11-20
378(=)
2020-11-21
380(+0.53%)
2020-11-22
382(+0.53%)
2020-11-23
386(+1%)
2020-11-24
386(=)
2020-11-25
386(=)
2020-11-26
386(=)
2020-11-27
395(+2.3%)
2020-11-28
396(+0.25%)
2020-11-29
396(=)
2020-11-30
410(+3.5%)
2020-12-01
414(+0.98%)
2020-12-02
415(+0.24%)
2020-12-03
418(+0.72%)
2020-12-04
418(=)
2020-12-05
426(+1.9%)
2020-12-06
426(=)
2020-12-07
432(+1.4%)
2020-12-08
433(+0.23%)
2020-12-09
433(=)
2020-12-10
434(+0.23%)
2020-12-11
436(+0.46%)
2020-12-12
437(+0.23%)
2020-12-13
438(+0.23%)
2020-12-14
438(=)
2020-12-15
439(+0.23%)
2020-12-16
440(+0.23%)
2020-12-17
442(+0.45%)
2020-12-18
443(+0.23%)
2020-12-19
446(+0.68%)
2020-12-20
467(+4.7%)
2020-12-21
479(+2.6%)
2020-12-22
482(+0.63%)
2020-12-23
519(+7.7%)
2020-12-24
541(+4.2%)
2020-12-25
576(+6.5%)
2020-12-26
597(+3.6%)
2020-12-27
623(+4.4%)
2020-12-28
623(=)
2020-12-29
636(+2.1%)
2020-12-30
655(+3%)
2020-12-31
670(+2.3%)
2021-01-01
689(+2.8%)
2021-01-02
710(+3%)
2021-01-03
716(+0.85%)
2021-01-04
734(+2.5%)
2021-01-05
734(=)
2021-01-06
755(+2.9%)
2021-01-07
767(+1.6%) 1(n.a.)
2021-01-08
771(+0.52%) 1(=)
2021-01-09
810(+5.1%) 1(=)
2021-01-10
810(=) 1(=)
2021-01-11
825(+1.9%) 1(=)
2021-01-12
831(+0.73%) 1(=)
2021-01-13
833(+0.24%) 1(=)
2021-01-14
834(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-15
837(+0.36%) 1(=)
2021-01-16
842(+0.6%) 1(=)
2021-01-17
842(=) 1(=)
2021-01-18
843(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-19
848(+0.59%) 1(=)
2021-01-20
850(+0.24%) 1(=)
2021-01-21
851(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-22
851(=) 1(=)
2021-01-23
854(+0.35%) 1(=)
2021-01-24
855(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-25
856(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-26
856(=) 1(=)
2021-01-27
856(=) 1(=)
2021-01-28
857(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-29
858(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-01-30
858(=) 1(=)
2021-01-31
859(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-02-01
859(=) 1(=)
2021-02-02
859(=) 1(=)
2021-02-03
859(=) 1(=)
2021-02-04
859(=) 1(=)
2021-02-05
861(+0.23%) 1(=)
2021-02-06
861(=) 1(=)
2021-02-07
861(=) 1(=)
861(=) 1(=)
2021-02-12
863(+0.23%) 1(=)
2021-02-13
863(=) 1(=)
2021-02-14
864(+0.12%) 1(=)
2021-02-15
866(+0.23%) 1(=)
866(=) 1(=)
2021-02-18
866(=) 1(=)
866(=) 1(=)
2021-02-22
866(=) 1(=)
2021-02-23
867(+0.12%) 1(=)
867(=) 1(=)
2021-02-28
867(=) 1(=)
867(=) 1(=)
2021-03-05
867(=) 1(=)
2021-03-06
868(+0.12%) 1(=)
868(=) 1(=)
2021-03-18
868(=) 1(=)
2021-03-19
868(=) 1(=)
2021-03-20
869(+0.12%) 1(=)
869(=) 1(=)
2021-03-24
870(+0.12%) 1(=)
870(=) 1(=)
2021-03-27
871(+0.11%) 1(=)
2021-03-28
872(+0.11%) 1(=)
872(=) 1(=)
2021-03-31
873(+0.11%) 1(=)
2021-04-01
886(+1.5%) 1(=)
2021-04-02
889(+0.34%) 1(=)
2021-04-03
891(+0.22%) 1(=)
891(=) 1(=)
2021-04-06
896(+0.56%) 1(=)
2021-04-07
900(+0.45%) 1(=)
2021-04-08
900(=) 1(=)
2021-04-09
906(+0.67%) 1(=)
2021-04-10
910(+0.44%) 1(=)
2021-04-11
910(=) 1(=)
2021-04-12
921(+1.2%) 1(=)
2021-04-13
927(+0.65%) 1(=)
2021-04-14
929(+0.22%) 1(=)
2021-04-15
934(+0.54%) 1(=)
2021-04-16
941(+0.75%) 1(=)
2021-04-17
952(+1.2%) 1(=)
2021-04-18
957(+0.53%) 1(=)
2021-04-19
961(+0.42%) 1(=)
2021-04-20
966(+0.52%) 1(=)
2021-04-21
986(+2.1%) 1(=)
2021-04-22
986(=) 1(=)
2021-04-23
1,008(+2.2%) 1(=)
2021-04-24
1,018(+0.99%) 1(=)
2021-04-25
1,022(+0.39%) 1(=)
2021-04-26
1,026(+0.39%) 1(=)
2021-04-27
1,053(+2.6%) 1(=)
2021-04-28
1,059(+0.57%) 1(=)
2021-04-29
1,066(+0.66%) 1(=)
2021-04-30
1,074(+0.75%) 1(=)
2021-05-01
1,106(+3%) 1(=)
2021-05-02
1,111(+0.45%) 1(=)
2021-05-03
1,119(+0.72%) 1(=)
2021-05-04
1,119(=) 1(=)
2021-05-05
1,135(+1.4%) 1(=)
2021-05-06
1,161(+2.3%) 1(=)
2021-05-07
1,190(+2.5%) 1(=)
2021-05-08
1,202(+1%) 1(=)
2021-05-09
1,221(+1.6%) 1(=)
2021-05-10
1,241(+1.6%) 1(=)
2021-05-11
1,247(+0.48%) 1(=)
2021-05-12
1,257(+0.8%) 1(=)
2021-05-13
1,257(=) 1(=)
2021-05-14
1,276(+1.5%) 1(=)
2021-05-15
1,279(+0.24%) 1(=)
2021-05-16
1,286(+0.55%) 1(=)
2021-05-17
1,286(=) 1(=)
2021-05-18
1,309(+1.8%) 1(=)
2021-05-21
1,374(n.a.) 1(n.a.)
2021-05-22
1,392(+1.3%) 1(=)
2021-05-23
1,394(+0.14%) 1(=)
2021-05-24
1,411(+1.2%) 1(=)
2021-05-25
1,423(+0.85%) 1(=)
2021-05-26
1,423(=) 1(=)
2021-05-27
1,491(+4.8%) 1(=)
2021-05-28
1,491(=) 1(=)
2021-05-29
1,603(+7.5%) 1(=)
2021-05-30
1,621(+1.1%) 1(=)
2021-05-31
1,621(=) 1(=)
2021-06-01
1,632(+0.68%) 1(=)
2021-06-02
1,639(+0.43%) 1(=)
2021-06-03
1,654(+0.92%) 1(=)
2021-06-04
1,669(+0.91%) 1(=)
2021-06-05
1,682(+0.78%) 1(=)
2021-06-06
1,687(+0.3%) 1(=)
2021-06-07
1,703(+0.95%) 1(=)
2021-06-08
1,724(+1.2%) 1(=)
2021-06-09
1,724(=) 1(=)
2021-06-10
1,769(+2.6%) 1(=)
2021-06-11
1,789(+1.1%) 1(=)
2021-06-12
1,808(+1.1%) 1(=)
2021-06-13
1,813(+0.28%) 1(=)
2021-06-14
1,826(+0.72%) 1(=)
Data sourced from moh.gov.bt

March 2020[edit]

6 March: Bhutan confirmed its first COVID-19 case, a 76-year-old US male who travelled to the country via India. Around 90 people who came directly in contact with him, along with his 59-year-old partner, driver, and guide were promptly traced and quarantined.[2]

Bhutan immediately restricted entry of foreign tourists for two weeks. Schools in three areas including capital Thimphu were closed.[2]

The 76-year-old American male's case received personal attention from Bhutan's king,[9] and he was evacuated to the United States on 13 March. He was evacuated to Baltimore, MD and survived. His partner also survived.[10]

20 March: the 59-year old partner of the American tourist tested positive for COVID-19[11] 14 days into quarantine, 19 days after entering Bhutan and 28 days after her first contact with the index case.[12] Although their driver and guide tested negative, both were being held in extended quarantine even though their quarantine period had ended.[13]

22 March: Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan, announced in a national address that the country's land borders would be sealed off.[14]

23 March: All International borders were sealed. Around 5,000 Bhutanese living the Indian town of Jaigaon West Bengal, bordering Bhutan, were evacuated to neighbouring Phuntsholing.[15]

24 March: The government banned the import of Doma (betel nut) and Pani (betel leaf), as well as fruit, vegetables, and meat in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.[16] It also closed all its borders with India.[17]

25 March: A student in Bhutan who had returned from the United Kingdom was found to be positive for COVID-19, the third case in the country.[18][16]

29 March: According to the Ministry of Health, a returning student in the quarantine facility tested positive. The patient was moved to the isolation ward in Thimphu.[19] This is the 4th positive case in Bhutan and the 2nd Bhutanese to be infected by COVID-19 in the country. A Bhutanese national in New York was also confirmed positive.[20]

31 March: the Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering, announced that the quarantine period for COVID-19 in Bhutan will be extended from 14 to 21 days, even though the international (WHO) standard for quarantine is 14 days. He said: "There is the risk of testing positive even after quarantining for 14 days. That is why we have decided to extend the quarantine period." On this date Bhutan had 3,059 people held in quarantine facilities and 339 people in home quarantine.[21]

April 2020[edit]

1 April: it was announced that a Bhutanese student who had been studying in the US, and was under facility quarantine in Thimphu, has tested positive for Coronavirus. She has been moved to the isolation centre and is reported to be in a stable condition. This is the 5th case of COVID-19 detected in the country.[22]

2 April: It was announced that the first two COVID-19 cases detected in Bhutan (an American tourist and his travelling partner) have now recovered.[10]

7 April: With the numbers of coronavirus infections in neighbouring India rising, Increased security and prevention measures have been set up in the Sarpang and Samtse districts which border the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal. These measures include round-the-clock surveillance of all formal and informal border crossing points, and door-to-door COVID-19 awareness and prevention campaigns.[23][24]

Regional Referral Hospital, Mongar

8 April: A special isolation hospital equipped to treat any COVID-19 patients in the eastern region has been set up in the Royal Guest House at Mongar. It has 24 beds with a surge capacity for an additional 15 beds. A COVID-19 testing lab was also set up at the Mongar Regional Referral Hospital and, till this date, seven suspected cases had been tested there. All these test results were negative. The Mongar District administration has also identified 30 quarantine centres in the district. Currently only one person in the district is in quarantine.[25]

9 April: 309 Bhutanese were evacuated from the Maldives and New Delhi in India and returned to Bhutan by special Drukair flights. On arrival they were all sent directly to the quarantine facility in Thimphu. Most of those returning from the Maldives had been working in the tourism sector there; while the majority of those returning from New Delhi were students. The government scheduled further flights within the following days to evacuate Bhutanese residing in Bangalore, Amritsar and Chandigarh In India, and those residing in Sri Lanka.[26]

20 April: The second COVID-19 case, the 59 year-old partner of the first patient, left the country on 20 April after making a full recovery. On this day, 1,400 people were in 75 facility quarantine centres and two in home quarantine. More than 3,500 had already been discharged after completing their quarantine period.[27]

21 April: A person who returned to Bhutan from the Middle East, in quarantine since arrival, tested positive and become the sixth COVID-19 case in the country and was moved to the hospital isolation facility. The other three COVID-19 patients are in stable condition and are now in de-isolation.[27]

22 April:A 24-year-old man who returned from the Middle East tested positive taking the number of confirmed cases in the country to seven. The man was under quarantine at Paro and on testing positive moved to the isolation ward in Thimphu.[28]

23 April The fourth COVID-19 case in the country was pronounced recovered and sent home. The three remaining cases are all in de-isolation quarantine having already tested negative twice in 24 hours.[28]

27 April: The first Bhutanese (third case in the country) COVID-19 case in the country has now recovered after completing the 2 weeks de-isolation period since first testing negative. The individual tested negative again after finishing the 2 week de-isolation period in quarantine.[29]

"The Royal Government of Bhutan and the World Bank today signed a fast-track $5 million COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to help Bhutan prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness. The agreement was signed by Finance Minister Lyonpo Namgay Tshering and Tenzin Lhaden, Acting Country Representative, on behalf of the World Bank."[30][31]

May 2020[edit]

1 May: The Foreign Minister reported that a 36-year old Bhutanese in Abu Dhabi tested positive yesterday. There are now 12 Bhutanese citizen living abroad who are positive, five of whom have recovered.[32]

2 May:Suspected case. It was reported that a businessman in Jomotsangkha in the Samdrup Jongkhar district of South Eastern Bhutan had tested positive on 1 May for COVID-19[33] using a rapid test kit, when a team from the Ministry of Health was conducting random sampling tests there. A further sample was sent to a national testing centres unit at Mongar to confirm the result. The person, who was asymptomatic and had no recent travel history, was placed in quarantine to be moved to an isolation ward in Mongar or Thimphu if the further test result proved positive. Contract tracing of this suspected community transmission case was carried out, and about 1,000 people instructed to stay indoors pending the PCR test results of this case. About 60 other people in the same town were tested as part of high-risk community surveillance.[34] Jomotsangkha, which borders India, is considered a high-risk community as the town currently has no internal road connection with the rest of Bhutan and people normally need to travel via Assam to reach other places in Bhutan.
Later in the day it was announced that the PCR test results of the suspected case in Jomotsangkha were negative. The Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering, said the previous rapid test was positive for IgM, which means he could have an active viral infection, but wasn't shedding the virus at the time of the PCR test. The area continues to be kept under high surveillance, with the suspected case and his primary contacts put under isolation or quarantine for at least seven days. The prime minister said the situation would be reviewed only after a second PCR test revealed the suspected case to be negative once more.[35]

7 May: To date about 11,000 people have been tested for COVID-19 within the country. About 9,000 by rapid tests and 2,400 by PCR tests. Over 4,300 have been discharged from quarantine facilities and about 1,500 remain in quarantine.[36]

8 May: The sixth COVID-19 case. detected 21 April after returning from the Middle East, has now tested negative twice by RT-PCR test on 6 May. and been moved from hospital to de-isolation quarantine in a hotel facility in accordance with Bhutan's COVID-19 guidelines. She will only be declared recovered after completing 14 days de-isolation quarantine and testing negative again at the end of that period. One COVID-19 patient remains in isolation ward at JDWRH hospital.[36]

10 May:Two Bhutanese returning from the middle-east who were in a quarantine facility at Paro have tested positive for COVID-19 and been moved to an isolation ward.[37]

11 May: Two Bhutanese returning from the middle-east (a 25-year-old male and a 27-year-old female) have tested positive for COVID-19. They were in a quarantine facility and have been be moved to an isolation ward.[38]

13 May: Four Bhutanese (2 males, 33 and 32 years old; and 2 females 23 and 26 years old), who returned from the middle-east and were being held in quarantine in Thimphu, have tested positive for COVID-19 by PCR test and will be transferred to the isolation ward for COVID-19 patients at the national referral hospital.[39]

14 May: Five more COVID-19 positive cases were detected. Four of the new cases were women 31, 29, 24 and 27 years old. They had all returned to Bhutan from the Middle East and were in the quarantine facilities at Thimphu and will be moved to the isolation facility.[40][41]

15 May: One more case of COVID-19 was detected in a 29-year-old woman who had returned from Doha, Qatar and was staying in the quarantine facility at Thimphu.[42]

21 May: Three individuals confirmed with COVID-19 who were under isolation have now tested negative twice (24 hours apart) and so have now been moved to 2 weeks de-isolation quarantine.[43]

22 May: Two women who returned from the Middle East on 11 May and were in quarantine have now tested positive for COVID-19. The Health Minister, Dechen Wangmo, said that one of the women earlier showed symptoms of the virus but tested negative at that time. When a second test was conducted, which is the normal procedure, the virus was detected.[44]

Of the 23 cases so far in Bhutan, 7 are male and 16 are female. 17 cases are considered active cases, while six have recovered. To this date 6488 people have been quarantined, with 863 individuals still in quarantine.[44]

Later in the day, a third person in quarantine also tested positive bringing the total cases to 24 and active cases to 18.[45]

24 May: Three more Bhutanese, all returned from the middle east and held in quarantine, tested positive today, 2 males 23 and 29 years old and one female 29 years old. Two were in a quarantine facility in Thimphu and one at Paro. They will all be moved to the COVID-19 isolation ward at JDWNRH today.[46]

25 May: The Republic of Korea provided grant aid of US$400,000 to the Ministry of Health today. Out of the total grant, US$200,000 was used to procure test kits which can conduct 17,250 tests. The other half of the grant will be used to support COVID-19 response measures. The test kits were handed over by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in Bhutan to the Ministry of Health this morning. Based on experience in Korea, KOICA said mass testing could support Bhutan in managing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 effectively.[47]

26 May: As the Government of India has allowed resumption of domestic air travel from 25 May and train services from 1 June, Bhutanese in India who wish to return to the country can now take Indian domestic flights to Bagdogra or Guwahati and trains to New Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar. Upon arrival in Bhutan, they will have to report to the relevant COVID-19 task force for the mandatory 21-day quarantine.[48]

27 May: A Bhutanese woman who returned from New Delhi, and was quarantined in Phuntsholing has tested positive for COVID-19.[49]

28 May: Three people (2 females and 1 male) in quarantine have tested positive today and will be moved to into the JDWNRH isolation ward in the evening. This week five more people (4 females and 1 male) who were in the isolation ward have tested negative and have been moved to the de-isolation quarantine facility. As of now 14 people who were in the JDWNRH isolation ward are now in de-isolation after testing negative.[50][51][52]

30 May: 10 new positive cases detected in the last 24 hours, 7 female and 3 male all returned from the Middle East.[53] The total cases reported in the country so far now stands at 43. The government has asked the public not to be alarmed about the recent spike in cases since all cases detected till date are imported, and all individuals coming into Bhutan are kept under mandatory quarantine for 21 days. They say standards and protocols are in place to ensure that every individual leaving the quarantine or de-isolation facilities are free of COVID-19.[54]

To date, Bhutan has no community transmission, and all the cases are imported including the country's first two cases detected in tourists. Most cases are detected in Bhutanese returning from the Middle East. This week more than 500 Bhutanese returned home from the Middle East, Nepal and Thailand.[55]

June 2020[edit]

1 June: Four more people (two male and two female) who returned from the Middle East on 29 May 2020 and entered the quarantine facilities in Thimphu tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in Bhutan to 47.[56] Three people who completed their 2-week de-isolation periods were declared as recovered, so Bhutan now has 38 active cases of COVID-19.[57]

4 June: One new case, a Bhutanese male returning from the Middle East, was confirmed, taking the total positive cases in the country to 48, and the total under isolation to 211. Two more individuals were declared as having recovered, taking the total recovered to 11. Both tested negative on RT-PCR upon completing their two-week de-isolation periods. Two patients were moved from an isolation ward to a de-isolation facility after testing negative twice, taking the total number of people under de-isolation to 16.[58]

138 more Bhutanese people, including some from Qatar, Bahrain, USA, UK, Brazil, Netherlands and Italy who flew via Doha, arrived at Paro International Airport, and were all taken into quarantine.[59]

7 June: Eleven new cases, six female and five male, were confirmed in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative total of cases to 59. All 11 cases were detected while these people were in quarantine and are returnees from or via the Middle East. Two individuals were moved from isolation wards to de-isolation facilities after testing negative twice, taking the total number of individuals under de-isolation to 23. Three individuals were declared as having recovered after completing a two-week period of de-isolation and then testing negative on RT-PCR, taking the total cumulative figure for recoveries to 14.[60][61]

10 June: Three individuals, all of whom were returned from the Middle East and were in a quarantine facility, tested positive for COVID-19, taking the cumulative total of positive cases to 62.[62]

August 2020[edit]

10 August: A 27-year-old woman who completed her quarantine tested positive after she moved back home, resulting in a national lockdown and contact tracing lasting as much as 72 hours all the way from Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue, Tsirang and Gelephug. However, all the primary and secondary contacts were found to be negative on RT-PCR testing.

16 August: A four year old baby daughter of a worker who worked in the mini-port in Phuntsholing tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of confirmed cases to 133. The nation declared this location to be a red zone and put all borders and residence under strict surveillance. The government started to supply all groceries and foods supply through a contact point with the help of civilian personnel.

Uniquely, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck commanded the Royal Bhutan Army to start feeding stray animals on the streets so they would not go hungry during the current period of national lockdown.[63]

21 August: The Border Roads Organisation Unit In Phuntsholing, 12 Defence Personnel tested positive. This created a state of panic in the area. Strict lockdown and other containment measures were introduced. The area was declared a Red Zone and any movement of unauthorised persons was strictly prohibited.

26 August: After the Phuntsholing COVID-19 rise incident, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the government announced a mass COVID-19 test by the Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) process will take place. He said it will be introduced from 26 August 2020, in all the Indian as well as Foreign Diplomatic Units.

30 August: After mass COVID-19 testing in Bhutan, reports came in stating there were 27 more positive cases reported in Phuntsholing. A large-scale strict lockdown was implemented.

31 August: His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck totally sealed the Indian Military Training Team and the Border Roads Organisation, as well as other foreign diplomacies, for 10 days.

September 2020[edit]

11 September: The Royal Government of Bhutan extended the lockdown on foreign missions until 17 September 2020. Due to COVID-19 cases gradually rising, panic was created in the minds of common citizens.

October 2020[edit]

19 October: The Government of Bhutan introduced flights from and to India and Thailand. All flights are organized and carried out by Druk Air.

January 2021[edit]

7 January: Dechen Wangmo confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in Bhutan on this date.[64] The victim was 34 years old and suffered from chronic liver disease.

March 2021[edit]

Bhutan's COVID-19 vaccination campaign began on 27 March, using AstraZeneca vaccines gifted by the Indian government.[65] In only a single week, over 85% of Bhutan's adult population has received their first vaccine jab, a rate far faster than any other country in the world.[66] The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, is reported to be waiting to be vaccinated "only after every eligible person in the country received their shots safely."[67]

Impact[edit]

As part of its responses to the pandemic, the government created a one-year income grant to reduce the impact of a loss of income. Banks in the country moved to forgive loan interest rates for six months. The Government of Bhutan also allotted free 1GB data to all the users using Bhutanese mobile operators.[68]

Agriculture[edit]

Farmers reported large increases in sales, as Bhutanese buy local produce, due to facing import hurdles.[69][70]

The Vegetable market workers are providing food essentials to foreign diplomacies as well as in remote areas.

Education[edit]

All schools have been closed countrywide, leaving almost 190,000 students to attend classes online.[71][72] Printed study material is distributed to students that do not have access to the internet, in addition to radio broadcasts.[73]

Tourism[edit]

Bhutan Airlines suspended all flights, leaving only Druk Air to provide air transport to and from Bhutan. As of 23 March 2020, only one tourist remained in the country. Druk air also conducts repatriation flights when directed by the Government of Bhutan.[74]

Statistics[edit]

2021[edit]

2020[edit]


Summary of COVID-19 cases in Bhutan ()
Date Cases Admitted Recvrd[a] Deaths[b] Quarantine Tested Ref.
Total[c] New[d] Isol[e] D-Isol[f] Cur.[g] Dis[h] Total[i] PCR[j]
March 6 1 1 1 - 0 0 - 0 - [2]
March 13 1 0 0[k] - 0 0 - 0 -
March 16 2 1 1 - 0 0 - 0 - [75]
March 24 2 0 1 - 0 0 2,414 0 533 - [76]
March 25 3 1 2 - 0 0 2,938 0 558 - [77]
March 29 4 1 3 - 0 0 3398 42 714 - [78]
April 1 5 1 4 - 9 0 3,532 188 877 - [79]
April 2 5 0 3 - 2 0 3,532 188 912 - [80]
April 7 5 0 3 - 2 0 3,537 221 1166 - [81]
April 9 5 0 3 - 2 0 3,537 627 1,702 1,201 [82]
April 14 5 0 3 - 2 0 2,224 2,467 7.452 1,438 [83]
April 21 6 1 4 - 2 0 1,683 3,673 8.953 1,629 [84]
April 22 7 1 4 - 3 0 1,843 3,725 9,374 1,891 [85]
April 23 7 0 4 - 4 0 1979 3,728 9,475 1,968 [86]
April 27 7 0 3 - 5 0 2175 3,762 9,865 2,210 [87]
May 1 7 0 3 - 5 0 1,901 3,730 10,158 2,302 [88]
May 7 7 0 3 - 5 0 1,563 4,351 11,492 2,405 [89]
May 10 9 2 4 - 5 0 1,531 4,549 11,822 2,493 [90]
May 11 11 2 6 - 5 0 1,504 4,705 12,163 2,651 [91]
May 13 15 4 10 - 5 0 1,386 5,035 12,932 2,898 [39]
May 14 20 4 15 - 5 0 1,166 5,248 13,311 3,006 [41]
May 15 21 1 16 - 5 0 1,061 5,368 13,660 3,196 [42]
May 22 24 3 18 - 6 0 852 5,644 15,293 3,961 [45]
May 24 27 3 21 - 6 0 1,077 5,691 15,607 4,121 [92]
May 27 28 1 22 - 6 0 1,074 5,871 15,862 4,318 [52]
May 28 31 3 25 - 6 0 1,o64 5,881 16,547 4,641 [93]
May 29 33 2 27 - 6 0 1,234 5,906 16,838 4,805 [54]
May 30 43 10 37 - 6 0 1,271 5,909 17,038 4,989 [94]
May 31 43 0 37 - 6 0 1,112 6,072 17,344 5,051 [95]
June 1 47 4 38 - 9 0 1,118 6,074 17,620 5,235 [57]
June 2 47 0 24 14 [l] 9 0 1,118 6,074 17,620 5,235 [96]
June 4 48 1 21 16 11 0 990 6,400 18,821 5,683 [58]
June 7 59 11 22 23 14 0 1156 6,432 19,539 6,056 [60]
June 9 59 0 19 22 18 0 1186 6,457 20,104 6,415 [97]
June 10 62 3 19 24 18 0 1164 6,511 20,400 6,606 [62]
June 11 62 0 22 22 19 0 1186 6,457 20,529 6,681 [98]
June 12 62 0 19 23 20 0 1183 6,514 20,612 6,721 [99]
June 13 66 4 23 22 21 0 1353 6,524 20,731 6,792 [100]
June 15 67 1 19 26 22 0 1,164 6,789 21,560 7,119 [101]
June 16 67 0 16 27 24 0 1,202 6,798 21,790 7,319 [102]
June 18 67 0 14 28 26 0 1,126 6,955 22,522 7,594 [103]
June 19 68 1 12 28 28 0 1,121 6,967 22,627 7,655 [104]
June 20 68 0 12 26 30 0 975 7,137 22,954 7,737 [105]
June 21 68 0 10 26 32 0 947 7,171 23,176 7,826 [106]
June 22 69 1 8 29 32 0 923 7,199 23,368 7,932 [107]
June 23 70 1 9 27 34 0 920 7,211 23,749 8,143 [108]
June 29 77 7 15 18 44 0 856 7,502 25,048 8,696 [109]
July 5 80 3 7 20 53 0 662 7,867 25,825 8,993 [110]
July 10 82 2 7 18 57 0 580 8,044 27,127 9,406 [111]
July 16 86 4 8 78 0 622 8,122 29,788 9,845 [112]
July 23 92 6 9 - 83 0 609 8,397 40,924 10,352 [113]
July 31 101 9 12 - 89 0 583 8,609 44,534 11,085 [114]
August 6 108 7 12 - 96 0 617 8,795 59,440 12,894 [115]
June 16 - 0
June 16 - 0
June 16 - 0
August 17 146 43 - 103 0 1,259 9,029 62,120 14,988 [116]
June 16 - 0
June 16 - 0
August 23 155 40 - 115 0 1,117 9,407 82,648 30,929 [117]
August 25 173 55 - 118 0 1,155 9,474 90,559 37,888 [118]


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cumulative count of recovered cases
  2. ^ Cumulative count of confirmed deaths
  3. ^ Cumulative count of confirmed cases
  4. ^ New confirmed cases
  5. ^ In isolation ward
  6. ^ In de-isolation facility
  7. ^ In quarantine facility
  8. ^ Discharged from quarantine facility
  9. ^ Cumulative count of all tests (Rapid + RT-PCR)
  10. ^ Cumulative count of RT-PCR tests
  11. ^ Case 1 evacuated to USA
  12. ^ From 02/06/2020 separate figures are given for 'isolation' and 'de-isolation'. Isolation refers to a medical isolation facility where confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are kept under observation or treated. De-Isolation refers to a separate facility where formerly confirmed positive cases who have subsequently tested negative twice (24 hours apart), are kept under further observation for at least 2 weeks after which they again must test negative twice before being declared recovered.

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]