UK Baroness lauds Bhutan’s effort in fighting Covid-19

Pays tribute to His Majesty in the House of Lords

Ugyen Penjore

Bhutan’s successful handling of the novel coronavirus has caught the attention of many countries and leaders with all praising the initiatives led by His Majesty The King.

The latest was in the House of Lords debates on Monday, May 18, where Baroness Buscombe, the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, United Kingdom, paid tribute to His Majesty The King and congratulated Bhutan’s effort to control the Covid-19 pandemic in a statement.

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Peta Jane Buscombe

“My Lords, I pay tribute to the King of Bhutan and his people for their amazing fortitude and smart response to the virus,” said the Baroness, Peta Jane Buscombe, a Conservative member of the House of Lords.

Debates in the House of Lords are an opportunity for Peers from all parties to scrutinise government legislation and raise important local, national or topical issues.

On Monday, one session or debate was on the motion to consider the international response on Covid-19, “Covid-19: International Response.”

In her statement, the Baroness said that on March 6, she had witnessed the government’s decisive action following one suspected case: a tourist who had travelled from India.

“Within 24 hours, every tourist was traced and tracked, and we were contacted daily thereafter. All citizens were asked to socially distance themselves, while trucks travelled across the land distributing sanitiser,” she stated.

Referring to the preparedness, the Baroness stated that a quarantine period of 14 days kicked in for arrivals across the borders and all incoming tourist flights ceased, thereby avoiding a wide-scale lockdown across the country.  “Philanthropic hoteliers and businessmen supported their efforts and, in stark contrast to our Commons colleagues, all MPs (member of parliament) donated a month’s salary to the cause,” she informed the House.

“The king immediately rolled up his sleeves, working with doctors and encouraging anyone feeling unwell to attend clinics. He continues to work tirelessly across the country.”

Highlighting the national preparedness in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Baroness Buscome stated that a national preparedness and response plan, together with an emergency committee, had already been devised in late February, and that both the Prime Minister and Health Minister were formerly public health officials.

“Following an evidence-based approach of testing, effective quarantines, and border control, Bhutan has been able to avoid overloading its limited healthcare system. The under-resourced nation’s response, led by science and quick preventative action, has been fortified by its traditional communal values, which has seen its king, citizens, and government work in lockstep to support the nation,” she stated.

“I hope my noble friend the Minister will join me in congratulating the people of Bhutan and wishing them safe and well for the future.”

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