While it may be too soon to celebrate the end of Covid-19, it is also worthwhile to look back at our past journey of a little more than two years now and contemplate how far have we come as an individual, family, community and nation since the first reported case of Covid-19 in the country on March 5, 2020.
There is no denying that what we have witnessed and undergone in a little more than two years back is something that we have perhaps never seen or imagined until now. 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. However, Bhutan also unfortunately witnessed 21 Covid-19 related deaths.
Nonetheless, our fight against the novel coronavirus has been exemplary. Our achievement to contain the virus must be attributed to the visionary and selfless leadership of His Majesty The King for being in the forefront and taking the lead in protecting each and every Bhutanese from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the country’s first Covid-19 case, we also saw all schools being 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 following the Royal command, without which our private sector would have crumbled today.
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 pandemic.
Our religious institutions, health workers, armed forces, DeSuups, public servants, volunteers, and other frontline workers also deserve praise for their timely service to the nation by making people thoroughly conscientious and ensuring their safety and wellbeing.
Further, we cannot miss the generous support of the Government of India for making the nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine possible in Bhutan. Bhutan is the first country to receive India’s gift of 150,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine in January and another 450,000 doses on March 22.
Today, as we created history as an exemplary country in leading the fight against Covid-19, we must remember that this is indubitably not a small feat for a small nation like Bhutan. We must also remember that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet and that it would be too stupid to celebrate its end.