Chhimi Dema & Yangyel Lhaden

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo yesterday reiterated that people visiting public places must wear masks.

She said that with number of cases growing in the region,it was important for the country to level up precautionary measure. She added that if the country’s situation worsened there could be severe resource shortage.

People living in border towns, she said, were at high risk and the illegal movement of people across the border was a serious concern.

The use of face mask was a preparatory step to make people comfortable using it, she said. “Wearing of face mask should become a habit.”

The local authorities have begun implementing the directive. The vegetable market in Shaba, Paro, for example, doesn’t allow people without face mask to entre.

Lyonpo said: “It is absurd to have to force people to use face mask.”

The ministry, she said was advocating on the benefit of using face mask. “We cannot appoint kudrung for every person.”

Are there enough face masks?

Adequate for health officials in the country. The ministry doesn’t have enough for the general public.

Civil Society Organisations in the country are involved in making face masks. Over 200,000 face masks will be handed over to the health ministry.