Nima Wangdi 

Bhutan has the strictest and highest standards of Covid-19 measures in place. Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said this during a virtual meeting recently.

He said this was made possible with the leader, His Majesty the King on the top, who is always concerned about his subjects.

“Following His Majesty’s concern and the instructions, we have the highest standards of interventions, testing and vaccines,” he said. “No stone has been left unturned.”

People talking about the concept of living with the virus could be dangerous, lyonchhen said. “A slightest indication of pulling out of this pandemic and living with the virus will not be in keeping with the standard of our measures.”

He said: “But we need time as we are studying situations in other countries where they have started to live with the virus.”

Lyonchhen said Bhutan had a close reference with New Zealand, which remained zero Covid until recently. “The nearest best standard is Singapore and we are studying it too. If things go well in these countries, we too will start to live with the virus.”

A slightest strategic mistake, he said, could undo everything Bhutan has achieved.

He said that His Majesty the King is also not in favour of living with the virus given the possible risks.

Lyonchhen said that most of the Scandinavian countries had started to live with the virus but most of the countries are now suffering with sudden surge in the number of cases. “Some countries did not choose to live with the virus but were compelled to.”

He said that what would follow the Omicron is not known. “With the viral mutations, to have more contiguous and lethal variant is possible but less likely.

Meanwhile, 508 new Covid positive cases were recorded in the last 24 hours. Of these, 45 were from the community.

Phuentsholing has 14 community cases and Samdrupjongkhar 11.

Thimphu has 10, Wangdi has seven, and Samtse has three.

In the last 24 hours, 381 individuals were also declared recovered from the virus.