10 COVID-19 initiatives in Bhutan during nationwide lockdown

Email

Many initiatives have been taking place in this tiny Himalayan nation to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese during the nationwide lockdown.

Bhutanese adhering to physical distancing when purchasing essential items

It’s day 11 since the nationwide lockdown in Bhutan. 

As citizens continue to stay at home, and COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in this tiny Himalayan nation, various measures have been put in place to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese. Below are some of the efforts that the country has undertaken. 

1. Daily updates on COVID-19 situation during lockdown

The Prime Minister’s Office has been providing regular updates on the progress of the COVID-19 situation in the country alongside any initiatives that will be implemented within the country. The ongoing surveillance and preventive measures were communicated promptly to the people via different channels such as social media, official government website, BBS radio and television broadcasts. The different ministries have also been providing timely updates on the COVID-19 testings, and ongoing efforts that's happening in the country.

2.  Food deliveries services

There are eight stock centres in the country to supply essential food items. Although there were some logistical and coordination challenges in the beginning due to the sheer volume of the demand. Different shops and retailers were identified in the different districts to provide the essential commodities to the people. Desuups, police, foresters, customs and immigration officials, Bhutan Red Cross Society volunteers, amongst others have been monitoring and helping to deliver the food items. People can purchase mixed vegetables packed in either Nu. 300 or Nu. 500 that arrive in DCM trucks based on the different zones. 


Desuups assisting with food deliveries

3. Implementation of movement card in Thimphu

In the capital city, Thimphu, people are only allowed to go out to buy essential items in the shops with a movement card that was distributed to each household. For those who went to buy vegetables from the truck, officials will punch on the movement card to indicate that the person has made use of the vegetable delivery truck services. This is to ensure that no one person is overusing the services and avoid any potential hoarding of items.

4. Free additional mobile data

To allow Bhutanese to stay connected with their loved ones, the two telecom companies in the country have offered more than one giga-byte free data to all their subscribers.  Bhutan Telecom provided free data of 1,110MB to its subscribers while TashiCell, a private telco in Bhutan offered Nu 50 talk time and 1,024MB to its subscribers. 

5. Health services assistance

Bhutan Red Cross Society is involved in assisting patients who require health services. Volunteers assist to provide free transportation to patients visiting hospitals and those who are discharged. This will ensure that elderly and those with underlying conditions who require medical attention will be able to receive timely aid and medical supplies. 

6. Launch of interactive zone maps and vegetables sale-points in Thimphu

The residents of Thimphu can now access details of shops, vegetable sale points, and ATMs using the Interactive Zone Maps for Shops and Vegetable Sale-Points.

7. Distribution of tobacco products

Bhutan, a country that bans the sales of tobacco temporarily lifted the ban during the pandemic season. This is to ensure that no smuggling of tobacco products are happening that might further threaten the transmission of COVID-19. The tobacco products can be ordered and delivered to the door on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Thimphu. Each person can only order two boxes of cigarettes. The tobacco products will be distributed to the different districts in phases.

8. Collection and redistribution of commercial crops

The agriculture ministry has developed plans to collect and redistribute crops such as apples, cardamom and mandarin oranges if lockdown continues. Through government support from district agriculture officers, private exporters would be mobilised at collection points to collect the produce from farmers who can then initiate online exports. The government would also consider purchasing the produce and redistribute for internal consumption. Bhutan Agro Industries Ltd. is the only local company that purchases apples from the local market for commercial purposes. 

9. Nationwide feeding of stray dogs programme

Not only does the country concern itself with the well-being of the citizens but the stray dogs in Bhutan are equally well taken care of. The Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) initiated a nationwide feeding of stray dogs programme in the different districts to ensure that the dogs are fed daily. The programme was kickstarted in view of His Majesty’s concern for the dogs during the lockdown. As the streets are empty during the lockdown, the dogs which usually rely on food left by passersby or scraps from hotels, may starve and become feral. 


The quiet streets of Bhutan during COVID-19 lockdown

10. Mass testing of community

The government of Bhutan has conducted mass testing in Phuntsholing, a southern town bordering India, following local transmission of COVID-19 in the area. To further curb the transmission, Thimphu population testing will also be conducted after the testing for people with travel history to Phuntsholing is concluded. 


View of Thimphu city

As of Aug 21, there are currently 150 COVID-19 cases in the country and 105 cases have recovered.



Related Posts

Thousands of Bhutanese signed up as DeSuups during COVID-19...

While COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of inconveniences, challenges, and uncertainties to individuals, it did not...

Aug 04, 2020 15:45

Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Bhutan, with a leading vaccination rate in the region, commenced...

Bhutan's second nationwide vaccination campaign will be held from July 20 - July 26, 2021.

Jul 21, 2021 11:05

Paro International Airport is certified as a safe airport for...

Paro International Airport was awarded the Certificate of Accreditation by Airports Council International (ACI).

Jul 16, 2021 17:43

Bhutan set to conduct second nationwide vaccination drive from 20...

Bhutan received 500,000 doses of Moderna vaccine and will be receiving more vaccines in the coming weeks.

Jul 13, 2021 15:12

12 ways Bhutanese have come together to effectively combat the...

To date, only one person in Bhutan has died of Covid-19. Despite all the lockdowns the country has endured, the welfare...

Jul 05, 2021 11:34

Latest

News

What are the endangered birds of Bhutan?

Bhutan is home to 26 endangered birds. One of these birds even has its own festival.

Jul 19, 2021 10:35

Removing Bhutan’s import taxes on sanitary products is crucial for period equity

What might elimination of the 30 percent import tax on sanitary supplies mean for Bhutanese citizens?

Jul 12, 2021 10:48

Features

Biography of Pema Lingpa, Bhutan's famous treasure revealer

Once, he uncovered treasure following instructions from a dream. He would go on to uncover thirty-two treasures during his lifetime.

Aug 02, 2021 10:52

What are the endangered mammals of Bhutan?

Currently, Bhutan is home to nine endangered mammals, with one being critically endangered.

Jul 23, 2021 16:30

Business

What are the entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives available in Bhutan?

The Bhutanese government has introduced all kinds of initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. Even school kids are groomed to innovate,...

Jun 22, 2021 16:37

Support authentic Bhutanese handicrafts by local artisans

Whether you are interested in artisanal Bhutanese handicrafts or boutique sourced products with contemporary touch, the incredible...

Mar 25, 2021 12:09

Sports

Bhutan competed in the Olympics through historic qualification

Since 1984, Bhutan has been competing in the Olympics via universality invitation, but not the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Jul 29, 2021 17:06

What are the traditional sports of Bhutan?

The Bhutanese have a variety of traditional sports. Some test your aim and skills, whereas with others, it’s about pure brute strength.

Jul 13, 2021 11:15

Travel

Travel to Bhutan: experience the charm of Paro district

Paro district receives the highest volume of travellers annually. It's also easily one of tourists favourite places in Bhutan.

Jul 14, 2021 11:20

Travel to Bhutan: attractions in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu

Western Bhutan is the perfect region to learn more about the beautiful kingdom for those who are visiting Bhutan for the first time.

Jun 29, 2021 12:58

Lifestyle

How to identify female or male Bhutanese names?

Organizational Psychologist Joyce E. A. Russell observed, “A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and...

Jul 09, 2021 13:19

Where to satisfy your momo cravings in Thimphu, Bhutan

You can't go wrong with momo. It's almost always the answer to a growling stomach and social events.

Jun 28, 2021 11:20

COVID-19

Bhutan is leading in the vaccination race

“Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families." - Dr Will...

Jul 28, 2021 12:01

Bhutan, with a leading vaccination rate in the region, commenced its second vaccination drive

Bhutan's second nationwide vaccination campaign will be held from July 20 - July 26, 2021.

Jul 21, 2021 11:05

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!