Coronavirus Outbreak: Bhutan confirms first case

Bhutan has reported its first coronavirus case after a US tourist tested positive, the prime minister said on Friday.

However, the government immediately shut borders to foreign visitors for two weeks in an effort to limit the impact of a disease.

The patient is a 76-year-old from the United States of America, who had come to Bhutan from India on March 2 as a tourist., the office of Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said in a Facebook post.

The patient was touring India from February 21 to March 1. He had started his travel from Washington DC on February 18. The patient was travelling with his partner, aged 59. There were 10 passengers on board, of which eight others were Indian nationals, the post added.

Upon confirmation, the patient has been isolated in the COVID-19 hospital. Considering his age and underlying conditions, the patient is on oxygen support, it said.

Eight Indian nationals who were on the flight to Bhutan have also been quarantined.

Schools and institutes in Thimphu, Paro and Punakha will be closed for two weeks with effect from March 6.

Parents are advised to closely monitor the health of the child. Should there be any concern, parents are asked to contact health officials.

As per the release, “the government will impose two weeks restriction on all incoming tourists with immediate effect. This is to enable rigorous monitoring, source assessment of infection and mitigate the situation. In addition, all international conferences and seminars to be held in the country in the two weeks are also postponed.”

“The government will assess the situation after two weeks and accordingly decide on the restrictions,” it said.

“The Ministry of Health will provide regular updates on the situation. People are advised to maintain good personal hygiene, avoid gatherings, comply with quarantine and other control measures,” it added.

Over 3000 people have died from novel coronavirus, with more than 90000 confirmed infections globally.