The Bhutanese spirit

We are into the third week since the first Covid-19 positive case was reported in the country. As of now, we have only three positive cases. All are imported.

There is no stone left unturned to stop the spread of the virus. His Majesty The King is providing leadership and guidance. Touring the southern borders, His Majesty is ensuring that Covid-19 or problems related to it is not affecting any Bhutanese.

We are well ahead in terms of preparedness when most countries are overwhelmed with the disease. Our region is prone to pandemic. Population, poverty and ignorance make us vulnerable. It is now predicted that the number of cases could spiral out of control and make South Asia the next epicentre of Covid-19.

It is scary. But we are preparing to the extent that the advice is that there is no harm in being over prepared.

The government is doing everything in its capacity to ensure that the people are safe. They are also calling on the people to cooperate. The citizens are cooperating. Those quarantined for their safety, safety of family, community and the country are sacrificing a lot. One lost a parent when in quarantine and still chose to stay in for the safety of others. The sacrifices are immense.

Covid-19 has brought the economy to a standstill. The private sector is the worst affected. Some businesses have closed door, some have lost jobs some are on the verge of losing. We are beginning to feel the impact. But those affected are not demanding the government to act soon. They know the priority. They are waiting and the government knows they are waiting.

But we are Bhutanese and we come together to face disasters together. The government has not asked for help as yet. But individuals, organisations, associations, well-wishers and even those living far away and affected badly have the country and the people in mind. The contributions, small and big, are encouraging. We can be assured that the Tha Damtsi, a unique character of Bhutanese is still alive.

The story of a shopkeeper sponsoring two mobile phones to students so that they can get access to the online lessons, the story of farmers collecting rice to contribute to hotels serving as facility quarantine and the groups donating television sets are all heart-wrenching. Politics have taken a back seat with political parties supporting the government in its fight to keep the people safe.

With guidance from the helm, we are well aware of our priorities. Our concerns are simple but important. We are concerned about our students missing classes, traders losing business, youth losing jobs and people not getting vegetables. While many countries are not finding quarantine facility, we are even concerned of how to keep ours not only safe but also entertained.

The Prime Minister and his team is calling for cooperation and assuring those affected that there are plans to help them out. Some have already started rolling out. Filing business income and corporate income taxes are deferred, fiscal and monetary policies are being fine-tuned to be announced soon.

As we enter the last week of a busy month, we look forward to a new beginning. Together we can fight Covid-19, together we can rise above all challenges.

This is the Bhutanese spirit.

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