Bhutan announces seven-day nationwide lockdown

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Bhutan will go in lockdown for seven days starting from Wednesday amid rising case of Covid-19 cases, announced Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering.

In a statement, Tshering announced that a nationwide lockdown will be enforced for seven days, starting December 23, adding that the lockdown will enable the government to control the spread of the disease and also discern the extent of transmission in the communities.

“In continuation to the inter-district movement restriction imposed this morning, the national COVID-19 Taskforce decided the need for a more stringent action after detection of sporadic cases in flu clinics in Thimphu and Paro, and also in Lhamoizingkha, which is evident of local transmission,” the statement read.Bhutan All dzongdas and thrompons have been requested to take charge, activate and ensure the smooth implementation of the zone system. It is left to the districts to decide the time for the activation of the zone system. All other support and actions required will be carried out in close consultation with the national taskforce and the zoning team.

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While only designated shops within the zones and essential services will be available, all schools, institutions, offices and business establishments should remain closed.

Similarly, movement of individuals with the card within the zones and delivery of essentials will start in Thimphu from Wednesday, as it completes the third day of lockdown. However, zone relaxation will not apply to houses under isolation, the statement noted.

Relevant agencies will ensure that there are no disruptions in the supply of goods, vegetables and other essential items, including animal feed, within the country. The government will also facilitate and ensure minimum disruption in the import and export of all goods.

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“While we have decided on the seven-day lockdown to begin with, the pattern of disease transmission will determine the way forward. This time, we have an obvious indication of rampant local transmission and urge people to take maximum precaution,” the PMO said.

As per a bulletin by the Ministry of Health of the Himalayan Kingdom on December 22, the total number of COVID-19 cases stood at 479 out of which 430 have recovered. Bhutan is yet to record a COVID-19 fatality.