As the world looks to Bhutan

The world beyond is increasingly noticing how Bhutan is handling Covid-19. This week, many international media carried stories of how Bhutan has been successful in keeping the virus at bay. On Monday, in the House of Lords in the UK, Baroness Buscombe paid tribute to His Majesty The King and congratulated Bhutan’s effort to control the Covid-19 pandemic.

“My Lords, I pay tribute to the King of Bhutan and his people for their amazing fortitude and smart response to the virus,” said  Baroness Buscombe, before inviting the members to wish the people of Bhutan “safe and well for the future.”

While such recognitions make us feel good we cannot bask on them and forget the challenges before us. In fact, we have all the more reason to march ahead with renewed focus and drive because the battle is not over yet.

What we must understand is that the world this day is looking to Bhutan because many countries have faltered and the virus has begun to take a dangerous toll. We are fortunate that we have His Majesty The King at the helm who is leading the battle against one of the deadliest pandemics in recent memory.

At a time when world leaders are busy politicising the virus and making light of the dangers associated with the failure to deal with the mounting challenges, the discerning many are looking for leadership. That’s why they are looking to Bhutan.

Some wonder how a resource-strapped country like Bhutan can be so successful in dealing with the pandemic and its effects. This has been possible in Bhutan because in the face of adversity we always come together as a nation, as one big family. In the coming days the challenges facing us will grow as more and more Bhutanese from abroad—mostly from Covid-19-affected countries—come home. But we must face the challenge with the same spirit.

The biggest risk facing us today is the chances of case importation from the porous border in the south. We have a strong surveillance system, yes, we cannot fully rely on it. Honesty and integrity on the part of individuals are therefore critically important.

If you have travelled to the border and beyond, go to the first test centre and make your travel history known. That will make tracing easier and thus help contain the virus from spreading.

We have a manageable number of positives cases today. And so we must keep it because we cannot risk overwhelming our health system.

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