No COVID-19 positive cases in the country

Tshering Palden

All schools and educational institutes including ECCDs, VTIs, across the country will remain closed from today until further order from the government, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said.

However, Kuensel received numerous phone calls, and enquiries online asking if there are any positive COVID-19 cases.

Lyonchhen said that if there was a positive case the school closure would be for a definite period of two weeks.

“If there is a positive case it is in the government’s interest to share the information immediately and not hide because such timely dissemination can help people take safety measures,” Lyonchhen said. “There is nothing to worry about right now and it’s only precaution. Bhutan’s condition is very good.”

The notification was issued yesterday as students started returning to schools in Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangdue and Phuentsholing thromde that reopen tomorrow.

Lyonchhen said that there were many measures the government could take to address the concerns on completion of the syllabus.

“It all depends on how the situation unfolds,” Lyonchhen said.

The public notification from the Prime Minister’s Office stated that as the government monitored the COVID-19 situation within the country and beyond, it stated that while it was all under control back home, the development globally was disconcerting.

“It is also the time when many Bhutanese overseas are returning home. As a precautionary measure, we would like to keep our children home until we are confident about sending them to schools and colleges,” the notification stated.  “From the lessons, we have drawn over the days, we are happy to know that closure of schools and educational institutes in four districts so far have improved the parents-children relationship and that parents have also been guiding children with their lessons, besides the welfare.”

The notification further stated that the teachers, on the other hand, had been as concerned and took an active role in ensuring children were not wasting their time at home and sent assignments. They have engaged children and students using online means and technology.

“This is exactly what the government aspires,” the PMO wrote. “We hope teachers across the country, irrespective of government or private ownership, will make similar efforts.”

Meanwhile, many came online to pour out their support to the government’s decision.

“This is a timely and the right decision made by the PMO since the global situation hasn’t improved instead it has become worse. We never know what, how or from where it might come,” Kinley Wangchuk said on Facebook in response to the government’s notification.

“What looks like being overly cautious now will actually be revealed to be a success story of how we managed to keep this pandemic at bay,” Kunzang Drukpa said.