Bhutan lifts blockade


Calcutta: Bhutan lifted a lockdown on the capital Thimphu after a boy tested negative for Covid infection and may have been exposed.

“The lockdown in Thimphu will be lifted immediately after ruling out all possibility of the current presence of the Covid-19 disease in the capital,” local media quoted Bhutanese Prime Minister Lokha Tshering as saying.

Thimphu imposed a 72-hour lockdown on June 12 after an 8-year-old boy at a Druk school tested positive with a rapid antigen test.

However, a confirmatory RT-PCR test performed on the boy on Monday was negative. Tests on his family members and all possible contacts of the boy also came back negative, paving the way for lifting the lockdown in Thimphu.

“The confirmation test of the 8-year-old suspect this afternoon was negative. So far, all close contacts and related 2,029 samples collected from the community have also tested negative,” said Tshering, himself a doctor.

“The lockdown was imposed to prevent the potential spread of Covid. We took no risks,” he added. Tshering further said: “It is vital that we maintain the highest standard of response and not compromise on all fronts, especially when it comes to our children.”

Since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, Bhutan is one of the few prevention success stories in South Asia and the world. While neighboring India and China, the worst-hit countries in the world and the other home to the C virus, have been ravaged by the pandemic, Bhutan has so far reported just one death.

On January 7, a 34-year-old man who was being treated at a hospital in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, died of Covid-19 after suffering from liver and kidney disease. He was the first and only death from the C virus in the country.


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