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Bhutan deals with its first COVID-19 case

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    On March 6, 2020, a press release from the Prime Minister’s office in Bhutan announced that one positive case of COVID-19 in Bhutan was confirmed at 11 pm the previous night. The government immediately put a ban on all incoming international tourists for 14 days.
    On March 2, upon arrival in Thimphu, the patient visited the medical outpatient department at the National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), the main hospital in Bhutan, complaining of dyspeptic symptoms and nausea. But he did not have flu symptoms and was released with medications. The patient traveled to Punakha, a Himalayan town about 85kms from Thimphu, and stayed at a boutique resort.

    When he returned to Thimphu on March 5, he visited the National Referral Hospital again with flu symptoms and was admitted for observation. He samples were collected and sent to the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) and was confirmed to be infected by the novel coronavirus. The patient’s partner, the driver, the guide, and the eight Indian passengers that were with him were also quarantined.

    The press release also mentioned that Bhutan is adhering to the National Preparedness and Response Plan, and His Majesty The King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk personally oversaw the responses and implementation of the strategy. Earlier the government mentioned that it is fully prepared to tackle the pandemic.

    Over 90 contacts with the patient have been traced so far by health officials.

    On March 6, the government announced the closure of schools and institutes in Thimphu, Paro and Punakha districts for two weeks. All international conferences and seminars scheduled in the country are also postponed for the next 14 days.

    Tshering Zang Mo, a commenter on the Facebook post by the Prime Minister’s Office warned that Bhutan may not have the proper facilities to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak slotxo

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