Infected by the virus while in the line of duty

Younten Tshedup

A Bhutanese journalist tested positive for Covid-19 on April 6 while in the quarantine facility in Thimphu.  This marks the first journalist in the country to test positive for the virus in the line of duty.

The reporter was a member of Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s entourage to Bangladesh last month.  He tested positive during the routine test conducted on April 5 at the quarantine facility.

Along with the reporter, another member from the entourage, an official from the Prime Minister’s Office, also tested positive on the same day.  Both the official and the reporter are in stable condition and have been moved to an isolation facility where the rest of the positive cases from the recent Bangladesh trip have been kept.

Sources confirmed that a cook at the Bhutan Embassy’s guesthouse in Dhaka, where the media team was kept, had recently tested positive for Covid-19.  The cook is currently in a hospital in Dhaka. 

The cook, sources said, could be a possible source of infection.  They also suspect journalists interacting with foreign officials at an event on March 24 in Dhaka, or the Dhaka airport as another possible source of infection.

Given the pandemic protocols, the members of Bhutanese delegation did not go anywhere outside while in Dhaka, the source said. “Moreover, it was risky to move around given the high number of positive cases there.”

The entourage, along with Lyonchhen, returned on March 25.  None of them tested positive during the first routine test conducted on March 31.  The 13-member entourage returned by a Drukair flight that took more than an hour to land at the Paro international airport.

Except for Lyonchhen, the rest of the members were placed in the same quarantine facility in Thimphu.

Meanwhile, 15 Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA) artistes have also tested positive for Covid-19 until recently.  The artistes, 22 of them, were a part of Lyonchhen’s delegation to Dhaka as a cultural troupe for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence last month.