COVID-19 in Bhutan

Bhutan // 14 September, 2020

At least 245 cases and no deaths. See the Ministry of Health COVID-19 page.

Status: Decreasing Activity

14 September: The number of new confirmed cases have been decreasing, and Bhutan has moved out of Increasing Activity category and into Decreasing Activity.

2 September: Cases have been sharply increasing since late August and the country has moved to the ‘increasing activity category. A total of 225 cases have been confirmed, of which over 140 people have recovered. No deaths have been reported.

The nationwide lockdown is being gradually eased from 1 September, except in southern border towns which are deemed high-risk areas. People are encouraged to wear face masks. A decade-old ban on tobacco has been temporarily lifted, with tobacco products now available at state-owned duty-free stores. This is a government initiative aimed at reducing the need for smuggling tobacco from India, and the risk of COVID-19 being imported during the pandemic.

11 August: A nationwide lockdown has been announced in the country for the first time. This step was implemented after over 200 people came in to contact with a confirmed case. Over 100 of these contacts are in Gelephu and the rest in Thimpu, Tsirang, Paro, Zhemgang, Bumthang and Trongsa.

20 July: Ongoing sporadic cases are reported. The country is now in the ‘limited activity’ category. There have been 87 cases confirmed and no deaths. More than 80 people have recovered.

11 June: Cases have increased since the last update, all the cases detected so far are imported.

1 June: All cases so far are imported. At least 10 new cases were reported on Saturday. They returned from Middle East. Media sources report that at least 500 Bhutanese nationals have recently returned from abroad, namely Middle East, Nepal, Thailand.

28 May: So far all cases have had a travel history, most of them to the Middle East.

19 May: Some more cases have been identified, all have been returnees from the Middle East.

14 May: The case tally stands at 15 after a few more imported cases have been confirmed, returnees from the Middle-East.

12 May: A few more cases have been detected. So far all have been imported cases. The most recent are two Bhutanese nationals who returned from the Middle-East.

7 May: A mobile application "Druk Trace" launched in late April as a contact tracing tool will now be supplemented by log books at frequently visited public places or facilities. This is being done to include people who don't own a phone or a smartphone. They will be required to enter details such as name, CID number, phone number, address, date and times of visit. Alternatively, people having the app on their phones will have to scan QR codes displayed at these places.

3 May: An asymptomatic case without travel history was detected on random testing. This person belonged to Samdrup Jongkhar district in South Eastern Bhutan. About 1000 of his contacts were asked to quarantine themselves, of which 60 were tested with negative result. The subsequent test result on next day was negative and community transmission was ruled out.

13 April: The seventh case is a 24-year-old man who returned from the Middle East.

22 April: The sixth case is a woman who returned from the Middle East.

3 April: Further cases reported, for a total of five confirmations. Two people have already recovered.

28 March: A student who returned from United Kingdom has tested positive.

23 March: The partner of the index case has tested positive for COVID-19. The woman is in isolation and reported to be healthy. Now Bhutan has a total of two cases.

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