2020 coronavirus pandemic in Bhutan

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2020 coronavirus pandemic in Bhutan
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
Index caseParo
Arrival date6 March 2020
(4 weeks)
Confirmed cases4[1]

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached Bhutan in March 2020.


March 2020

On 6 March, Bhutan confirmed its first COVID-19 case, a 76-year-old US male who travelled to the country via India. Around 90 people who came directly in contact with him, along with his 59-year-old partner, driver, and guide were quarantined.[2]

Bhutan immediately restricted entry of foreign tourists for two weeks. Schools in three areas including capital Thimphu were closed.[2]

The 76-year-old American male was evacuated to the United States on 13 March.

On 20 March, the 59-year old partner of the American tourist tested positive for COVID-19[3] 14 days into quarantine, 19 days after entering Bhutan and 28 days after her first contact with the index case.[4] Although their driver and guide tested negative, both were being held in extended quarantine even though their quarantine period had ended.[5]

On 22 March, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan, announced in a national address that the country's land borders would be sealed off.[6]

On 24 March, the government banned the import of Doma (betel nut) and Pani (betel leaf), as well as fruit, vegetables, and meat in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.[7] It also closed all its borders with India.[8]

On 25 March, a student in Bhutan who had returned from the United Kingdom was found to be positive for COVID-19, the third case in the country.[9][7]

On 29 March, According to the Ministry of Health, a returning student in the quarantine facility tested positive. The patient was moved to the isolation ward in Thimphu.[10] This is the 4th positive case in Bhutan and the 2nd Bhutanese to be infected by COVID-19 in the country. A Bhutanese national in New York was also confirmed positive.[11]

On 31 March, the Prime Minister, Dr. Lotay Tshering, announced that the quarantine period for COVID-19 in Bhutan will be extended from 14 to 21 days, even though the international (WHO) standard for quarantine is 14 days. He said: “There is the risk of testing positive even after quarantining for 14 days. That is why we have decided to extend the quarantine period.” On this date Bhutan had 3,059 people held in quarantine facilities and 339 people in home quarantine. [12]

April 2020


  1. ^ "Bhutan confirms 3rd COVID-19 case, 1st Bhutanese national to be infected". Xinhua. 26 March 2020. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Bhutan confirms first coronavirus case". The Economic Times. 6 March 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  3. ^ Wangchuk, Kinga (22 March 2020). "Bhutan Confrms Second COVID-19 Case". The Journalist. Thimphu.
  4. ^ Tenzing Lamsang (21 March 2020). "Partner tests positive 14 days into quarantine, 19 days into entering Bhutan and 28 days after 1st contact with index case". The Bhutanese. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Bhutan detects 2nd confirmed COVID-19 case". BBS. Thimphu: Bhutan Broadcasting Service. 20 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Instagram post by Her Majesty Queen Jetsun Pema • Mar 23, 2020 at 3:10am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Bhutan confirms third COVID-19 case". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Coronavirus: Bhutan government closes all international borders with India". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  9. ^ Youten Tshedup (27 March 2020). "First Bhutanese to test positive for Covid-19". Kuensel. Thimphu. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  10. ^ @MoHBhutan (29 March 2020). "Update: 4th case" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 March 2020 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ @PMBhutan (29 March 2020). "Message from the Prime Minister" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 March 2020 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Bhutan extends quarantine period for COVID-19 to 21 days". South Asian Monitor. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.

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