Bhutan Takes Precautionary Steps To Prevent Spread Of Coronavirus
The Bhutanese government is doing all it takes to be prepared.
By Samten Dolkar | BBS
Concerned with the recent outbreak of coronavirus in the region, Member of Parliament from Chhumig Ura asked the government about its plans to prevent the spread of the virus in the country. The government replied saying that it is doing all it takes to be prepared.
Bhutan’s Prime Minister also said that the government has directed officials to international entry points such as the Paro International Airport, and Southern border regions to quarantine suspected cases. This is expected to prevent the spread of the virus into the Kingdom.
Statistics as of 1 Feb 2020, 7am (GMT)
Source: Youtube/StatisteX Data
He added that the government has also proposed to procure full-body infrared scanner worth Nu 700,000 to be placed in places like Phuentsholing where the population density is higher and individual screening is sometimes difficult.
Healthcare sector getting prepared
“In Thimphu, we have identified 25 beds in the old Mother and Child Care building and we have placed ICU equipment in it. In Paro and Phuentsholing, we have asked the hospital to keep 6 to 10 beds empty. If the case becomes worst, we will empty Gidakom hospital and transfer the patients to Thimphu and will allot the hospital for patients suffering from coronavirus. Also, we will vacate Paro hospital and will keep patients affected by the virus there,” said Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering.
Meanwhile, at the Meet the Press session on 31 January, the Lyonchhen said that the government might consider postponing the re-opening dates for schools across the country if the situation demands.
We have not decided anything as of now, it will depend on the situation. If this happens in the neighbouring countries, although we hope that it doesn’t reach Bhutan, in case it does we will have to decide depending on the severity of the situation. If we see the need to postpone the dates, we can also do so within a short span of time.
Source: Facebook/World Health Organization (WHO)
"What I am saying is that we are preparing and looking into how to tackle the situation if the situation calls for. This can be decided a few days before the announced dates also. In case a student is infected in a school, he can spread it to around a hundred others within a few hours. So we are saying that all these aspects are being looked into when we say we are prepared,” the Lyonchhen explained.
Coronavirus has killed over 200 people and infected many in China, most of them in the city of Wuhan where the virus first originated. Outside mainland China, there are over 100 confirmed cases in countries such as Thailand, India and Nepal, the most visited country for the Bhutanese.
So far, travel advisory has been issued by the Health Ministry. The borders officials have also started screening people coming from other regions with Infrared forehead thermometer, while several teams and health experts have also been dispatched to these areas.
This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.