Younten Tshedup 

Since the beginning of the pandemic in the country, His Majesty The King has spent almost 80 percent of his time outside the palace, mostly in the bordering areas in the south of the country.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering shared this during his recent interview with CNN International.

Lyonchhen said that His Majesty The King was in the field guarding the country against the pandemic physically and by morally supporting all the frontline workers along the borders.

The extraordinary leadership of His Majesty during the Covid-19 pandemic was also highlighted by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) country representative, Dr Rui Paulo de Jesus.

“I’ve even lost count of the number of times His Majesty has been in the field personally monitoring all the containment measures,” he said. “When I say in the field, it means in a place with the highest risk of Covid-19. His Majesty is there with his people, guiding and supporting them.”

Dr Rui said that the pandemic was an extraordinary time and to have an extraordinary leader like His Majesty was a true blessing for all Bhutanese. “What is more extraordinary is that His Majesty follows all the protocols including the seven-day quarantine after each visit to the southern borders. This is the highest quality of leadership one can witness.”

Since March this year, the country has recorded 415 new cases. A majority of the cases have been detected among the Bhutanese returning from abroad, quarantined in hotels.

The number of cases was not a surprise, said Dr Rui. “This is very specific to Bhutan where the country is calling back all its citizens from the Covid-19 affected countries.”

He said that the government proactively through bilateral arrangements made Covid-19 vaccination possible for more than 90 percent of its entire adult population. “But going a step ahead, the government also sent vaccines to all countries where there are Bhutanese people living. This is unprecedented.”

He added that Bhutan’s Covid-19 success was a collective effort of both the government and community. “Today, under His Majesty’s guidance, Bhutan’s response to Covid-19 is second to none and serves as a testimony of how compassionate and visionary leaders can make a difference in the world.”

However, he reminded that the threat from the pandemic was not over yet. With the increasing cases both within the country and in the region, he said that the country needed to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

In anticipation, the WHO has ordered 20 oxygen concentrators as a backup, and additional PPEs and testing reagents were also being procured.