Bhutan Reports First Covid-19 Case On 6 Mar, Patient Is A 76-Year-Old US Tourist

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Bhutan Covid-19 Patient Is Currently On Oxygen Support

Bhutan, aka the happiest country on Earth, is known for being enigmatic and secluded.

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Only accessible by 2 aeroplanes, many would think the landlocked country would be one of the last countries to report cases of Covid-19.

On Friday (6 Mar), the country reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus — a 76-year-old tourist from the US.

Bhutan Coivd-19 case was in India

According to a tweet from the Bhutan Prime Minister’s Office, the elderly patient tested positive for Covid-19 at around 11pm on Thursday (5 Mar).

Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering
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The US citizen had apparently flown into the country via Paro International Airport — the only airport in the country that connects to foreign destinations.

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Before entering Bhutan, the patient toured India from 21 Feb-1 Mar with his 59-year-old partner. He started his trip from Washington, DC on 18 Feb.

He was tested for Covid-19 on 4 Mar after suffering respiratory symptoms like:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat.

The patient is currently on oxygen support, given his old age.

Country to close schools in affected regions for 2 weeks

At the time of the tweet, the Bhutan government has traced 90 contacts linked to the patient.

In light of the discovery, Bhutan has also closed schools and institutes in the districts of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha – places where the patient visited – for 2 weeks.

The country will also be restricting entry for all incoming tourists, with “immediate effect”.

All international conferences and seminars held in Japan will also be postponed for 2 weeks.

Bhutan Covid-19 case highlights how infectious virus is

While Bhutan may seem foreign and distant for most Singaporean, this story highlights just how infectious Coivd-19 is.

If we don’t make a conscious effort to curb the spread of the virus, it could very easily spiral out of control.

Given Singapore’s high population density, this would likely work in favour of the virus when it comes to transmission.

Let’s make it a point to observe good hygiene during this trying time and to seek medical treatment ASAP should you feel unwell.

Together, we can triumph over the new coronavirus.

Featured image adapted from National Geographic

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