10 COVID-19 initiatives in Bhutan during nationwide lockdown

Email

Many initiatives have been taking place in this tiny Himalayan nation to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese during the nationwide lockdown.

Bhutanese adhering to physical distancing when purchasing essential items

It’s day 11 since the nationwide lockdown in Bhutan. 

As citizens continue to stay at home, and COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in this tiny Himalayan nation, various measures have been put in place to ensure the well-being of the Bhutanese. Below are some of the efforts that the country has undertaken. 

1. Daily updates on COVID-19 situation during lockdown

The Prime Minister’s Office has been providing regular updates on the progress of the COVID-19 situation in the country alongside any initiatives that will be implemented within the country. The ongoing surveillance and preventive measures were communicated promptly to the people via different channels such as social media, official government website, BBS radio and television broadcasts. The different ministries have also been providing timely updates on the COVID-19 testings, and ongoing efforts that's happening in the country.

2.  Food deliveries services

There are eight stock centres in the country to supply essential food items. Although there were some logistical and coordination challenges in the beginning due to the sheer volume of the demand. Different shops and retailers were identified in the different districts to provide the essential commodities to the people. Desuups, police, foresters, customs and immigration officials, Bhutan Red Cross Society volunteers, amongst others have been monitoring and helping to deliver the food items. People can purchase mixed vegetables packed in either Nu. 300 or Nu. 500 that arrive in DCM trucks based on the different zones. 


Desuups assisting with food deliveries

3. Implementation of movement card in Thimphu

In the capital city, Thimphu, people are only allowed to go out to buy essential items in the shops with a movement card that was distributed to each household. For those who went to buy vegetables from the truck, officials will punch on the movement card to indicate that the person has made use of the vegetable delivery truck services. This is to ensure that no one person is overusing the services and avoid any potential hoarding of items.

4. Free additional mobile data

To allow Bhutanese to stay connected with their loved ones, the two telecom companies in the country have offered more than one giga-byte free data to all their subscribers.  Bhutan Telecom provided free data of 1,110MB to its subscribers while TashiCell, a private telco in Bhutan offered Nu 50 talk time and 1,024MB to its subscribers. 

5. Health services assistance

Bhutan Red Cross Society is involved in assisting patients who require health services. Volunteers assist to provide free transportation to patients visiting hospitals and those who are discharged. This will ensure that elderly and those with underlying conditions who require medical attention will be able to receive timely aid and medical supplies. 

6. Launch of interactive zone maps and vegetables sale-points in Thimphu

The residents of Thimphu can now access details of shops, vegetable sale points, and ATMs using the Interactive Zone Maps for Shops and Vegetable Sale-Points.

7. Distribution of tobacco products

Bhutan, a country that bans the sales of tobacco temporarily lifted the ban during the pandemic season. This is to ensure that no smuggling of tobacco products are happening that might further threaten the transmission of COVID-19. The tobacco products can be ordered and delivered to the door on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Thimphu. Each person can only order two boxes of cigarettes. The tobacco products will be distributed to the different districts in phases.

8. Collection and redistribution of commercial crops

The agriculture ministry has developed plans to collect and redistribute crops such as apples, cardamom and mandarin oranges if lockdown continues. Through government support from district agriculture officers, private exporters would be mobilised at collection points to collect the produce from farmers who can then initiate online exports. The government would also consider purchasing the produce and redistribute for internal consumption. Bhutan Agro Industries Ltd. is the only local company that purchases apples from the local market for commercial purposes. 

9. Nationwide feeding of stray dogs programme

Not only does the country concern itself with the well-being of the citizens but the stray dogs in Bhutan are equally well taken care of. The Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) initiated a nationwide feeding of stray dogs programme in the different districts to ensure that the dogs are fed daily. The programme was kickstarted in view of His Majesty’s concern for the dogs during the lockdown. As the streets are empty during the lockdown, the dogs which usually rely on food left by passersby or scraps from hotels, may starve and become feral. 


The quiet streets of Bhutan during COVID-19 lockdown

10. Mass testing of community

The government of Bhutan has conducted mass testing in Phuntsholing, a southern town bordering India, following local transmission of COVID-19 in the area. To further curb the transmission, Thimphu population testing will also be conducted after the testing for people with travel history to Phuntsholing is concluded. 


View of Thimphu city

As of Aug 21, there are currently 150 COVID-19 cases in the country and 105 cases have recovered.



Related Posts

Thousands of Bhutanese signed up as DeSuups during COVID-19...

While COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of inconveniences, challenges, and uncertainties to individuals, it did not...

Aug 04, 2020 15:45

The Great Fourth King and Fifth King of Bhutan on Royal Tours...

Many Bhutanese people eyes brimmed with tears. The heart was a knot of inexplicable emotions when they saw His Majesty...

Oct 07, 2020 09:16

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response...

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Virtual Tsechu in Bhutan amid Pandemic.

Tsechu (Festival ) is one of the biggest religious celebrations of the Bhutanese year in every district in Bhutan....

Sep 21, 2020 12:38

Technology-based Conservation in Bhutan

Bhutan homes around 11,248 species making us one of the biodiverse countries in the world. With the digital age, how is...

Sep 16, 2020 19:23

FOOD SECURITY- Rice for three meals could face repercussion on...

“One of our primary objectives is to be self-reliant. When we talk about self-reliance it means that we should be able...

Sep 13, 2020 12:13

Latest

News

The Great Fourth King and Fifth King of Bhutan on Royal Tours amid the COVID-19 pandemic brought tears to many Bhutanese.

Many Bhutanese people eyes brimmed with tears. The heart was a knot of inexplicable emotions when they saw His Majesty the fourth King...

Oct 07, 2020 09:16

Australia supports Bhutan in its COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery

Extending support to Bhutan in its fight against COVID-19, the Australian Government has supplied medical equipment in response to the Royal...

Sep 22, 2020 09:39

Features

Ngultrum- The Bhutanese Currency but does Bhutanese address the money Nu or ?

Ngultrum is pegged at par with the Indian rupee. Ngultrum is the identity of the Bhutanese monetary system. But most Bhutanese refer to the...

Oct 23, 2020 16:00

Significance of the Stupa of two lovebirds across Lungtenzampa- the Bridge of Prophecy

According to the caretaker, many believe that couple who wishes to have children gets their wishes fulfilled if they pray at this sacred...

Oct 17, 2020 17:32

Sports

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33

Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Business

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15

Are Local Vendors Earning More Money Than the Civil Servant?

A Farmer from Lango, Paro gave up farming to be vendor while office goers are switching into agriculture as the remedy to curb their...

Jul 27, 2020 19:15

Travel

Harvest Time in Bhutan- It is the happy time for peasants for the bountiful harvest

This time of the year, the lush green valleys and hills have turned into a mellow yellow field. Farmers are seen at their field to harvest...

Oct 26, 2020 12:52

Domestic Tourism to boost Local Economy in Bhutan

Although Bhutanese have not seen tourists for the last few months, locals are riding the bandwagon of being "tourists in one's own...

Oct 13, 2020 21:26

Lifestyle

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!