Amid Omicron spread, Bhutan locks down most cities, including capital Thimphu

Bhutan has closed down 14 of its total 20 districts, including capital Thimphu in line with its zero-tolerance policy towards the pandemic as authorities confirmed community spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19

Jan 19, 2022
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Bhutan locks down most cities

Bhutan has closed down 14 of its total 20 districts, including capital Thimphu in line with its zero-tolerance policy towards the pandemic as authorities confirmed community spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19. This is the fourth time when most of the country went into lockdown since March 2020 when the pandemic began. 

As Omicron wreaks havoc around the world, officials had announced new measures, including tightening border measures and administering booster doses to priority groups. However, last week, when cases started emerging from the southern city of Phuentsholing bordering India, the government locked down the city and launched a massive screening campaign. 

Over the last three days, based on the screening results, a total of 14 districts are currently kept under lockdown. Besides capital Thimphu, the rest of the 13 districts will be evaluated for unlocking from tomorrow. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Bhutan’s Prime Minister Office said Thimphu will remain under lockdown till Saturday, thereafter the government will begin further screening. Significantly, the ongoing drive to collect random samples has also been suspended by Saturday. 

A country of over 700,000 people, Bhutan is among a handful of countries that had managed the pandemic effectively so far. It was lauded for completing its national immunization program in record time. 

Over 90 percent of its population above 12 is fully vaccinated, including 99 percent of booster coverage among priority groups. 

(SAM)

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