As we receive the Covid-19 jab today, it’s also time to retrospect our past journey of a little more than a year and contemplate how far have we come as an individual, family, community and nation.
There is no denying that what we have witnessed and undergone in the past one year is something that we have perhaps never seen or imagined hitherto. Never had we seen such a disease cause so much death and disruption as even worse than the two world wars combined together.
For Bhutan, the scale of death and disruption were fortunately nothing compared to other advanced countries, such as the United States, Europe, China and India. Bhutan reported only one Covid-19 related death case since the first reported case in the country on March 5, 2020.
Notably, our achievement to contain the virus must be attributed to the visionary and selfless leadership of His Majesty The King for taking the lead in protecting each and every Bhutanese from the Covid-19 pandemic by travelling and meeting every people in the high-risk areas.
His Majesty The King, even from the First Address to the nation, was explicit and genuine when His Majesty held that the priority will always be the health and wellbeing of the people and that everything will be done to ensure that lives are not put at risk.
Following the country’s first Covid-19 case, all schools were closed as a preventive measure and even an immediate ban was put in on the entry of tourists.
Cognizant that closing tourism could severely hamper businesses and devastate thousands of livelihoods, the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu came as a boon by providing income support to those individuals whose livelihoods were affected because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another lifeline for businesses was the interest waivers on all loans beginning April last year following the Royal command. Our private sector would have crumbled today had it not been for this Royal initiative.
Similarly, the government led by the Prime Minister and Health Minister ensured through their unwavering effort and dedication to safeguard the nation against the Covid-19 and alleviated any suffering to the people due to the two nationwide lockdowns.
Our religious institutions, health workers, armed forces, Desuups, public servants, volunteers, and other frontline workers also deserve applause and praise for their timely service to the nation by making people thoroughly conscientious and ensuring their safety and wellbeing.
Eventually, we cannot miss the generous support of the Government of India (GoI) for making the nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine possible in Bhutan today. Bhutan is the first country to receive India’s gift of 150,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine in January and another 400,000 doses on March 22. The Covid-19 vaccine is spart from the ten consignments of medical supplies, X-Ray machine, essential medicines and medical equipment that had been earlier handed over to Bhutan. Today, we create history as the first country to protect our entire population against the Covid-19. This is indubitably not a small feat for a small nation like Bhutan. We wish and hope that the nationwide Covid-19 vaccine rollout becomes another success story of ours.