Bhutan reports fourth Covid-19 death in two years; Prime Minister mourns, says disease preventable

Bhutan, one of the most successful countries in managing the pandemic, reported the fourth Covid-19 related death last week, the government said, adding the victim had cardiac complications due to underlying kidney disease

Jan 31, 2022
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Bhutan Prime Minister mourns (Photo: Yahoo)

Bhutan, one of the most successful countries in managing the pandemic, reported the fourth Covid-19 related death last week, the government said, adding the victim had cardiac complications due to underlying kidney disease. The Buddhist kingdom of 780,000 people nestled in the eastern Himalayas has fully vaccinated over 90 percent of its eligible population.  

A 34-year old woman died with Covid-19  in capital Thimphu, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said. She added the woman’s kidney related complications were exacerbated by the Covid-19 infection. The victim, a resident of the southern Phuntsholling district, was shifted to a hospital in the capital where she died, reported Kuenselonline. 

Bhutan had so far been most successful in controlling the pandemic since the first case emerged on 5 March 2020. Proactive measures, strict border control, and almost universal vaccination have helped the country keep the spread under control. 

Bhutan recorded extremely low cases during the earlier outbreaks with the repeated nationwide lockdowns. However, since the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant, the country has now been seeing relatively high cases. 

Authorities have repeatedly conducted mass screening, separating the Covid-19 clusters from other areas. Since 16 January, when the first community case of Omicron was detected, over 116,000 tests were conducted. Of which, 1781 cases came positive, according to the data posted by the Office of Prime Minister on its Facebook page.

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, a physician who still conducts surgeries on the weekend as a “de-stresser”  said last week’s death was “a bitter reminder that we need to do more”.

On his Facebook page, the Prime Minister said “it felt like a bullet-hit to learn that one more precious life died” with COVID-19.

“I grieved with the nation and continue to offer my prayers for our dear friend,” he added.  He said his country remained committed to eliminating the disease and said the nation could not afford “to lose our people to something that is preventable”.

Most districts of the total 20 districts were under lockdown for the last two weeks. Now as the screening exercise was completed in most parts, authorities have started easing restrictions. 

(SAM)

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