Bhutan closes borders
King Jigme Khesar has ordered that all Bhutanese borders must closed effectively Monday, 23 March to stop any chances of COVID 19 being imported to Bhutan.
In an address to the nation on Sunday, the king said, ‘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.’
He further said, ‘At such a time, the health and safety of the people of Bhutan is of the greatest priority, and as such, we are putting in place every measure necessary to safeguard the people of Bhutan.’
‘Should those of you who are abroad at this time wish to return home, the government will help you. I ask those of you who are studying or working abroad, not to worry.’
He added, ‘COVID-19 will cause great disruptions to the global economy, and Bhutan will not be an exception. The economic repercussions will not just impact a select few sectors, but each and every one of us. At such a time, we must exhibit the strength that comes out of our smallness, remain united and support one another. During such exceptional circumstances, the government will take the responsibility of alleviating any suffering to the people due to the virus.’
‘As you know, all schools have been closed as a preventive measure, and children are at home instead of in their classes. We do not know when the situation will improve and schools can be reopened again. Parents must guide their children, and children must take it upon themselves to use this opportunity to continue studying- at your age, education should be your most important concern. Do not waste time.’
He further said, ‘On the part of the government, there are already plans to make learning materials as widely available to students as possible. Internet providers, television, and even newspapers, have been tasked to bring learning materials to you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take advantage of the avenues that will be made available to you.’
‘According to experts, the elderly population is at the greatest risk from COVID-19. We must take care of our elderly, protect them, and ensure that their environment is safe and clean.’
‘As a small country with a small population, we can overcome any challenge we are faced with, if the people and the government work together.’
‘It is important, however, to not lose sight of our national objectives, and aim to bring normalcy as soon as possible so that when this pandemic is behind us, we can continue to work on making our future better and stronger. In the meantime, we will continue to work ceaselessly through this challenging situation.’
In a message, Prime Minister’s Office said all movements of people and vehicles across the border are strictly banned. The Bhutanese citizens are restricted from travelling out of the country and all incoming Bhutanese are to be quarantined.
The country will allow exit for non-Bhutanese and all incoming non-Bhutanese are to be scrutinized and quarantined where applicable.
The PMO said government will ensure the continued supply of all commodities.
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