His Majesty The King arrived in Thimphu yesterday from Phuentsholing, concluding a Royal Tour of the entire southern region which began on September 26.

In accordance with the Covid protocol for travel from high risk areas, His Majesty took the Covid test before embarking for Thimphu, and will remain in facility quarantine at Zhiwaling Hotel for a week prior to taking a second test.

The Prime Minister, Chairperson of the National Council, and the rest of entourage accompanying His Majesty will also follow the same protocol.

During the Royal tour, His Majesty visited all the major settlements along the southern border, from Jomotshangkha in the southeast tip of the country, Samdrup Jongkhar, Nganglam, Panbang, Gelephu, Sarpang, Lhamoyzingkha, Phuentsholing, Samtse, Tashicholing and Tendruk, the southwest end of the country.

His Majesty The King was in Phuentsholing from  October 11 to 13. His Majesty met with the Southern Covid-19 task force based in Phuentsholing, which presented updates and issues related to Covid-19 to His Majesty. His Majesty also granted an Audience to the frontline workers from various agencies working on the ground in Phuentsholing.

On October 12, His Majesty visited the red zone areas of Phuentsholing, from where positive cases have emerged, as well as the Mini Dry Port where transshipment of import goods takes place, and Rinchending, where vehicles carrying goods to other parts of the country are disinfected and assigned a new driver.

While in Samtse from October 9 onwards, His Majesty granted an Audience to the Samtse Covid-19 task force. On October 10, His Majesty visited Tendruk and Tashicholing and granted Audiences to De-Suups taking part in the 42nd batch training programme, which started in eight centres across the country simultaneously from October 5.

His Majesty expressed appreciation to the trainees for having come forward with great enthusiasm to play a more active role in service of the nation, and outlined the objective of the Desuung programme, and how De-Suups would contribute to nation building, during the pandemic and beyond.

Over 2,000 volunteers signed up for the 42nd Batch Desuung training, which includes modules on water resource management in addition to the regular Desuung training programme. This special batch of Desuung especially invited youth who are currently unemployed.

His Majesty visited the Gyalsung Training Centre site under development in Jamtsholing, and also met with the personnel on duty at various points of entry (POE) along the border in Samtse on October 10. Many of the frontline workers have been working and living at their places of duty continuously for several months.

On October 11, His Majesty visited the Mini Dry Port in Samtse, and later granted an Audience to frontline workers in Samtse before travelling to Phuentsholing. His Majesty thanked the frontline workers for their hard work and endurance while working to combat Covid-19, and encouraged them to remain alert and resilient.

While in Lhamoyzingkha on October 7 and 8, His Majesty granted Audiences to the Lhamoyzingkha Covid-19 task force, and students of the Lhamoizingkha Central School. His Majesty also visited shops and the hospital in Lhamoyzingkha.

His Majesty visited Gelephu on October 4, and met with the students of Norbuling Central School. While in Gelephu, His Majesty granted an Audience to the Sarpang Covid-19 task force, and visited the Thromde CCTV surveillance centre, and the Mini Dry Port, gate, and boulder stockyard.

His Majesty also granted Audiences to De-Suups of the 42nd Batch in Jigmeling and Pelrithang.

Before Gelephu, His Majesty was in Nganglam. His Majesty visited the shops in Dungsam, and Sonamthang Central School in Panbang along the way.

His Majesty granted Audiences to the students of Nganglam Central School and members of the Pemagatshel Covid-19 task force on October 3. His Majesty reminded the officials that as we work to combat the spread of Covid-19, the well-being of the people should be foremost in our minds.

His Majesty also advised the local government leaders that it was important for people living along the border to understand well the security measures in place and their intent, so that communities themselves can be part of our national efforts to protect Bhutan from the worst impacts of the pandemic.

On October 1, His Majesty arrived in Jomotshangkha, the easternmost dungkhag in Bhutan. His Majesty met with the dungkhag Covid-19 task force, and granted an Audience to students of Jomotshangkha Middle Secondary School.

His Majesty visited various POEs along the border in Jomotshangkha patrolled by Armed Forces and De-Suups, and met with people living near the border.

His Majesty also offered prayers at the Bhairav Kund Mandir in Jomotshangkha and visited the hospital.

Enroute to Jomotshangkha, His Majesty granted Audiences to students of Karmaling School, and the Dungkhag Covid-19 Task Force members in Samdrupcholing, and visited the Gyalsung Centre site under development in Pemathang.

On September 30, His Majesty granted an Audience to the Eastern Covid-19 Task force and Dzongkhag Task Force in Samdrup Jongkhar. The team presented an update of the situation and measures in place to address Covid-19 and related issues.

His Majesty visited the Thromde control room which monitors border movement, as well as Samdrup Jongkhar main gate, and various POEs into the country and the Motanga mini dry port site. His Majesty also granted an Audience to students of Jigme Namgyel Engineering College at Deothang.

Before arriving in Samdrup Jongkhar, His Majesty The King granted Audiences to the Task Force members of Mongar and Trashigang and met with students of Gyalpoizhing College of Information Technology and Sherubtse College.

During the Audiences to students, His Majesty said that being perceptive about the future and preparing ourselves accordingly will ensure our success as individuals and as a nation. To the younger students, His Majesty described the qualities that are necessary for success: grit, curiosity, and good character. His Majesty also encouraged students to cultivate a habit of reading, and to use the resources available to them to seek knowledge beyond what is taught at school.

His Majesty’s greatest concern, conveyed to the Covid task force teams, local leaders, and others working on the frontlines, is that in high risk areas, where greater restrictions are in place- including the border closure that has significantly affected economic activity and daily life, the people should not suffer undue hardship.

His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo also visited the southern dzongkhags on a special tour from September 25 to October 9, and entered a 7-day quarantine in accordance with the Covid protocols, after taking the Covid test and testing negative. His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo visited Gelephu, Sarpang, Damphu, Lhamoyzingkha, Phuentsholing, and Samtse, and met with frontline workers, Covid-19 task force teams, students, 42nd batch Desuung trainees, hospitals, shopkeepers, and the people. His Majesty expressed appreciation to the frontline workers for their hard work, and encouraged them to continue working relentlessly to fight the pandemic.