Covid-19 claims first victim in Bhutan

January 7, 2021

UPDATE: The 34-year-old man who died today is the first death case of Covid-19 in the country, Health Minister Dechen Wangmo just confirmed.

The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the health ministry discussed the issue late into the evening. The deceased who suffered from chronic liver disease and renal failure was detected with Covid-19 on December 21 when he was admitted to JDWNRH for the treatment of severe hepatitis.

He was managed at the Covid-19 ward at the JDWNRH campus. Laboratory examination showed that his liver function test was grossly deranged and he was diagnosed with severe acute hepatitis. He received hemodialysis for acute kidney failure. According to the treating physician, the prognosis of such cases with hepato-renal failure is grave.

Press release

December 22, 2020

A nationwide lockdown will be enforced for seven days, starting tomorrow (December 23, 2020).In continuation to the inter-district movement restriction imposed this morning, the National COVID-19 Taskforce decided the need for a more stringent action after detection of sporadic cases in flu clinics in Thimphu and Paro, and also in Lhamoizingkha, which is evident of local transmission.

The lockdown across the nation will enable government to control the spread of the disease and also discern the extent of transmission in the communities.

In doing so, His Majesty has commanded that it should be of minimum inconvenience to our people. The government will strive to work towards that.

All dzongdas and thrompons are requested to take charge, activate and ensure smooth implementation of zone system. It is left to the districts to decide the time for activation of the zone system. All other support and actions required will be carried out in close consultation with the national taskforce and the zoning team.

While only designated shops within the zones and essential services will be available, all schools, institutions, offices and business establishments should remain closed.

Similarly, movement of individuals with the card within the zones and delivery of essentials will start in Thimphu tomorrow, as it completes the third day of lockdown. However, zone relaxation will not apply to houses under isolation.

Those who have misplaced the card or moved to a new place may call 1010.

Meanwhile, relevant agencies will ensure that there are no disruptions in the supply of goods, vegetables and other essential items, including animal feed, within the country. Government will also facilitate and ensure minimum disruption in the import and export of all goods.

While we have decided on the seven-day lockdown to begin with, the pattern of disease transmission will determine the way forward. This time, we have an obvious indications of rampant local transmission and urge people to take maximum precaution.

Let us all pray and work together to come out of this lockdown safe and stronger, as an individual and as a nation. 

Source: PMO, Bhutan

December 22, 2020

We would like to inform all that additional COVID-19 cases have surfaced since last night. We have recorded five from Thimphu flu clinic, three from Paro flu clinic, one more in Lhamoizingkha and one at a quarantine facility in Phuentsholing.In order to prevent spread and assess situations, we will stop all inter-district travel of both vehicles and people with immediate effect. Essential movements and exit of export materials will be facilitated with close monitoring by Royal Bhutan Police.

Meanwhile, the National Taskforce is assessing the need for lockdown in Paro. We request everyone to refrain from coming out of homes, unless really necessary. We will keep you informed! 

Source: PMO, Bhutan

December 20, 2020

This is to inform the public that Thimphu Thromde will be under lockdown with immediate effect. All are requested to stay home. All offices, institutions and business entities shall remain closed until further notice.While all outbound travellers will be stopped, only emergencies and essential incoming movements into Thimphu will be considered.

A 25-year-old female, who visited the flu clinic at JDWNRH with symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. It was reconfirmed early today.The Health Ministry is conducting intensive contact tracing. The lockdown of the Thimphu Thromde will enable health officials to trace and test all possible contacts.

A primary contact had also traveled to Trongsa with multiple stops on the way. While all contacts have been identified, we urge people in Hongtsho, Thinleygang, Wangduephodrang, Phobjokha, Pelela and Trongsa to stay vigilant and refrain from moving out of their homes.

Depending on the degree of transmission, relaxations will be initiated over the coming days. We will keep you informed of critical developments. Please maintain public health protocols and stay indoors.

Source: PMO, Bhutan

September 17, 2020


September 17, 2020, Thimphu: The Bhutan Foundation handed over 200,000 non-medical face masks to the Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan for distribution to vulnerable communities, including the elderly population and pregnant women, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The donation is part of the ongoing “Bhutan Emergency COVID-19 Response and Health System Preparedness” activity  supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a U.S. Government agency, which leads international development and humanitarian efforts in over 100 countries to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance and help people progress beyond assistance. Read more…

September 16, 2020

A total of 3710 individuals were randomly tested throughout the country starting 8th September 2020, out of which 2112 were from the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA), 1097 from the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), and 384 are from Royal Body Guards (RBG).

From these round of tests, 2 police personnel tested positive from Gelephu which was announced earlier on 12th September 2020.

Ministry of Health also takes a moment to thank all the RBP, RBA and RBG officials for thier unwavering service to the nation and in safeguaring the health of the public.

September 15, 2020

Community Transmission Mitigation Strategy

In order to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 and to minimize social and economic disruption, the four key interventions namely; Testing, Tracing, Treating and behavioural change is being implemented.

While testing, tracing and treating is being carried out by the Government, behavioural change is soley the responsibility of each one of us. As we know that the virus is here to stay and we should learn to live with it by adapting the new normal in our daily lives, we should ultimately know that ‘behaviourial change’ is our Gyenkhu to have a better and healthier environment to live in.

September 12, 2020

His Majesty The King’s Address to the People of Bhutan

Translation of His Majesty The King’s Address to the People of Bhutan

Last month, the threat of the pandemic became very real for Bhutan when the first COVID-19 cases were detected outside the quarantine facilities. It was extremely worrying to find several positive cases, in more than one place. Those who contracted the virus and their loved ones have suffered a great deal of anxiety.

A nationwide lockdown was introduced with immediate effect to contain the virus. The entire population had to stay home for weeks, stopping work, losing income, and running out of food and essentials. Yet, our people fully understood the magnitude of the threat we face, and willingly endured the discomfort and hardship, extending their wholehearted support to the government. I thank our people for being concerned about the collective good and showing exceptional forbearance and resilience. Read full address…

September 12, 2020

We now have 5 COVID-19 labs in Bhutan including the recently established in Dewathang Hospital, Samdrup Jongkhar.As of date, we have tested 53,806 people by RT-PCR (Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) test and 59,543 by RDT (Rapid Diagnostic Test) Kits in these 5 COVID-19 labs.Adjusting by test per million we have done 146,852 tests and with this rate of testing, we stand 45th in the world.

September 11, 2020

COVID-19 lab at Dewathang Hospital is established and functional starting today.

A total of 5 COVID-19 Testing center are established across the country as of date:1. RCDC, Thimphu2. Phuentsholing Hospital3. ERRH, Mongar4. CRRH, Gelephu5. Dewathang Hospital, Samdrupjonkhar

September 8, 2020

2886 people were tested as a part of the second round of active community surveillance in the Yellow Zone, Phuntsholing on 5th and 6th September 2020 and all results came out negative.

September 4, 2020


Total positive cases since the lockdown

A total of 111 positive cases were detected from 11 August 2020 to 1 September 2020 which is approximately 49% of the total number of cases detected in Bhutan.

(The details are attached in the infographic)

September 4, 2020

Testing conducted since the lockdown

~ 4039 people tested while screening the DANTAK/IMTRAT cluster from 15th to 31st August, 2020

~ 31486 people tested in Paro, Phuntsholing, and Haa during the active community surveillance

~ 7484 travelers who traveled form Phuntsholing from 1st August 2020 onward were tested.

September 4, 2020


Data depicting people repatriated since March 2020 till 28th August 2020.More than 12000 Bhutanese were brought back home from different countries in the repatriation flights organized by the government.

August 31, 2020

Press Release

Initiating the unlocking process

Bhutan witnessed the first of a kind lockdown to combat spread of coronavirus in the country on August 11. Today, 21 days on, we are confident to state that our lockdown measures have been successful. And this underscores the very essence of being Bhutanese.

The government would like to thank each and every individual for staying home, and more so for keeping your problems and frustrations locked in with yourself. We are aware of your sacrifices.

Inconvenience on one hand, the 21-day lockdown has accelerated the downturn of already ailing economy. We are aware that you have lost your income, compromised your businesses and livelihood. Read more…

August 31, 2020

Her Excellency Minister of Health thanks everyone for exhibiting a tremendous level of unity and patience during this unprecedented time.

We must continue to do the same till we overcome the pandemic and emerge victorious.

Together we can!

August 24, 2020

Ushering in the third week of lockdown, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering, in his message expresses gratitude to the people of Bhutan for the support and solidarity so far, and articulates the way forward.

August 18, 2020So far 913 people have been contact traced in connection to the COVID-19 positive case from Phuntsholing (25-year-old man from the dry port).24 have tested positive, 474 tested negative and the remaining are being tested.

August 11, 2020

Press Release

Government announces nationwide lockdown

The government announces nationwide lockdown starting today, following report of a COVID-19 positive case in Gelephu, who came in close contact with people in Thimphu, Gelephu, Paro and those along the way.

The government enforces restrictions on movement of people and vehicles within the Dzongkhags and beyond. Everyone is asked to stay home to protect themselves and their families from the disease, should there be undetected, rampant transmissions.

All schools, institutions, offices and commercial establishments will remain closed. Ongoing exams will be postponed, while the students and trainees in boarding facilities should continue to remain on campus and follow COVID-19 protocols. Read more…

August 11, 2020


August 11, 2020

Time: 3:15am

Following report of a COVID-19 positive case in Gelephu, who has come in close contact with people in Thimphu, Gelephu and those along the way, the government announces national lockdown starting today.

No movement of people and vehicles within or beyond Dzongkhags will be allowed unless authorised.

Prime Minister will come on BBS live at 7AM to share the details.

The government will share all information with the public as and when it becomes available. Please follow the updates and instructions closely.

July 3, 2020

Rapid Antigen testing is starting this week along bordering areas, high-risk population, and emergency cases. This test takes 30 minutes to give test results and is more specific in comparison to Rapid Antibody tests. Starting this week, we have also established a COVID-19 testing center in Gelephu. Antigen and Antibody tests will be performed in all the Dzongkhag while the PCR test will be performed only at the designated 4 COVID-19 testing centers.

– Health Minister


Over a period of four months

A total of 8732 people have been quarantined as of 28th June 2020, of which 8324 were repatriated and rest are either primary contacts of the positive cases, frontline workers or the quarantine protocol violators.

Going by gender a total of 4696 male and 4036 female were quarantined.

35 infants under the age of 2 were quarantined during this period, 333 were between the age of 2 to 17, 7006 were between the age 18 to 34, 1252 were between the age of 35 to 60 and 106 were elderly population above the age of 60.

The highest number of people who were quarantined are students (3649) through repatriation.

India, Kuwait and UAE brought in the highest number of people inside Bhutan.

– Ministry of Health


June 24, 2020 – Thimphu, Bhutan: The Bhutan Foundation, upon the command of its co-chair, Her Majesty Gyalyum Tseyring Pem Wangchuck, offered a contribution of Twelve Million Ngultrum to His Majesty’s Kidu Fund for COVID-19 through the Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon. This contribution to the COVID-19 fund is a gesture of gratitude and deep respect for the tireless efforts of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo for the welfare of the Bhutanese people in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more…

May 14, 2020

20th COVID-19 case of Bhutan.

Of the 99 samples tested today, 1 more tested positive, making it the 20th COVID-19 case of Bhutan.

The person who tested positive is a 30 year old male who recently returned from the Middle East and is in a quarantine facility in Thimphu. He is yet to be moved to the isolation facility.

271 people completed their 21 days quarantine today after testing COVID-19 negative.

Source: Ministry of Health, RGoB

April 30, 2020

Press Release from The Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu

The Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu has granted Nu. 150 million as the first disbursement of the Relief Kidu to 13,006 people. The Relief Kidu will be at Nu. 12,000 per person per month for recipients of the full amount of the Kidu and Nu. 8,000 per month for recipients of the partial amount of the Kidu. Additional support of Nu. 800 per child per month will be granted to eligible beneficiaries with children. The Kidu will be provided for three months – April, May and June 2020. Read more…

April 28, 2020:

The first Bhutanese and the 3rd COVID-19 case in the country is being declared recovered after completing the 2 weeks de-isolation period. The individual tested negative upon completing the 2 weeks de-isolation period.

Therefore, five of seven have now recovered.

Source: Ministry of Health, Royal Government of Bhutan.

Press Release

Legendary Artists Keola Beamer and Jigme Drukpa Spread Aloha from the Himalayas to Hawai`i in a Free Online Concert and Q&A

Washington, DC, April 8, 2020: On Friday, April 17, enter the worlds of award-winning artists Keola Beamer and Jigme Drukpa as they bring together the sounds of the Himalayas and Hawai`i in a free livestream concert and interactive Q&A session. Read more…

Full post from His Majesty’s Facebook page update:

18 April 2020:

His Majesty The King arrived in Thimphu after a weeklong visit to Samtse and Phuentsholing to review security and preparatory measures to combat COVID-19.

In Phuentsholing, His Majesty visited Amochu Land Development and Township Project area, to inspect progress of the work on construction of shelters for the Bhutanese evacuated from Jaigoan before the closure of the border. 1,300 RBA personnel together with around 180 volunteers from Technical Training Institutes have been working to compete the structures by the end of this month. Over a thousand households, living in school and college campuses in Phuentsholing at present, will be accommodated in these houses.

His Majesty also granted Audiences to the COVID-19 Task Force members in Phuentsholing, Gomtu, and Samtse.

In Samtse, His Majesty visited settlements along the border, where there is risk of cross-border transmissions. The borders are being patrolled by the RBA and RBP, together with DeSuups and volunteers from the nearby villages.

His Majesty also granted separate Audiences to the DeSuups being trained in Samtse, Tendruk and Tashichoeling.

An accelerated DeSuung training programme to train about 2,500 teachers, in-service graduates, unemployed youth, and other volunteers simultaneously in 7 different locations is currently underway. The 3-week programme, which started on the 6th of April, has special focus on public health and security, to prepare the trainees to support health workers in our efforts against COVID-19 if necessary.

All the volunteers and trainers were tested for COVID-19 at the start of the program to rule out the possibility of a community spread.

Training for another batch of 2,520 DeSuups will start from 4th of May.

April 10th, 2020: His Majesty’s Address to the Nation

English Translation of His Majesty’s Address to the Nation

The world is faced with an unprecedented challenge due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The risks unleashed by this pandemic are escalating by the day.

Realising that Bhutan will not be an exception to the adverse effects of this global pandemic, we have planned and implemented various strategies to cope with the threat in a timely and effective manner. Read full translation…

From Coronavirus to Corona Victory

The second Bhutanese to test positive for Covid-19 shares her views with Kuensel in this letter written from the isolation ward of the national referral hospital. Read more…

Letter from a Hotel Room

The room’s well furnished, spick-and-span. A queen-size bed in the centre, there is also a table by the side with a water boiler, tea bags, instant coffee packets and sugar arranged neatly by expert hands. This is my room at Tsherim Resort in Paro. Read more…

Thank You Bhutan

The second Covid-19 patient, Sandi Fischer shares her experience

Like most tourists, Sandi Fischer and her partner, Bert Hewitt planned a trip to Bhutan to explore the country’s unique culture and tradition.

On the list of places to visit, the Americans had Thimphu, Paro and Punakha.   “Bert and I really enjoy hiking so part of our decision was related to that, as well as hearing wonderful things about the people and culture of Bhutan.”

However, their plan began to fall apart as they arrived in the country on March 2. Bert Hewitt,76, started feeling ill soon after their plane landed at the Paro international airport. Read more…

The Two First COVID-19 Patients Recover

Early detection and containment approach, which Bhutan has adopted to fight against Covid-19, has worked well for the country.

While the three Bhutanese who have tested positive to the virus were already placed in designated quarantine facilities upon their arrival in the country, the first two patients have recovered. Read more…

Media coverage on e-book launch:

March 30, 2020

Letter from the Prime Minister of Bhutan to those in quarantine

My dear friends in quarantine,

Today, the government decided to extend the quarantine period from initial 14 to 21 days. The decision was arrived at purely to align with the COVID-19 response modes we are adopting by the day.

The country is embracing highest preventive approach and as our surveillance picks up more cases from the quarantine facilities, this is one of the ways to minimise possibilities of missing out. Read full letter…

Press Release from Prime Minister’s Office
March 27, 2020

As we strive to stay ahead of the spread of coronavirus, with His Majesty’s guidance, the government has introduced highest level of preventive measures all along. This includes recent closure of all border gates early this week.

Reinforced by an efficient containment system, the government is making efforts to come out of the pandemic with slightest of burden on the people of Bhutan. Read full press release…


English translation of His Majesty the King’s address

Starting today, our land borders will be sealed.

We are compelled to take this drastic measure in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. As you have been made aware through various government bulletins, the virus is spreading, causing immense disruption worldwide, and drawing closer to us each day. Read full translation…


Prime Minister of Bhutan distributing free hand sanitizer in Thimphu Photo: PMO

As the situation around COVID-19 develops around the world, we’re seeing story after story of growing challenges and the heroic people in our health sectors who are rising to meet those challenges. We at the Bhutan Foundation wanted to take a moment to recognize the speed, compassion, and consideration that His Majesty the King and Bhutan’s leaders in the government, including the Prime Minister and the Health Minister, took to address the public when the virus made its way across the border this March and to offer our own ways to stay engaged during this uncertain time.

Read full letter from our Executive Director