Bhutan king Jigme Khesar treks across mountains to hold down Covid-19 fatality count – Times of India

KATHMANDU: Wearing a baseball cap and knee-size conventional Gho gown, carrying a backpack, Bhutan’s king has walked by jungles infested with leeches and snakes, trekked mountains and quarantined a number of occasions in a lodge within the capital.
For 14 months, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, has been travelling by foot, automotive and horse to distant hamlets to oversee measures to shield his tiny kingdom of 700,000 from the coronavirus outbreak that has flared up in neighbouring India.
The impression of the 41-12 months-outdated king’s excursions are evident in a Covid-19 demise toll of only one for the nation nestled between India and China within the Eastern Himalayas.
“When the king travels for miles and knocks, to alert people about the pandemic, then his humble words are respected and taken very seriously,” stated Lotay Tshering, the nation’s prime minister.
“His Majesty’s presence is far more powerful than just issuing public guidelines,” Tshering advised Reuters. His presence assures individuals they aren’t alone of their combat in opposition to the pandemic, the prime minister stated.
Tshering, a training urologist, usually accompanies the Oxford-educated king for journeys close to the porous border shared with India, the place a second wave of the pandemic greater than doubled the demise toll over the past two months.
Bhutan turned a constitutional monarchy in 2008 when the king relinquished his absolute powers. But loyalty to the royal household nonetheless dominates the nation’s socio-political panorama.
In current weeks, the king walked for 5 days on a path passing by elevations of up to 4,343 m (14,250 ft) to thank major well being staff in distant areas.
The king’s workplace declined a request for an interview however his social media pages on Instagram and Facebook showcase his work and travels through the pandemic.
“Our king’s biggest fear is that if the pandemic spreads like a forest fire then our (nation) could be wiped out,” stated a senior palace official.
A father of two boys, after each journey the king checks right into a lodge in capital Thimphu to comply with quarantine protocols. Like most of his topics, he has obtained one vaccination dose.
“(The king) has been to all high risk border areas time and again to monitor every measure put in place and to ensure best practices are followed within limited resources,” stated Rui Paulo de Jesus, the World Health Organization consultant in Bhutan.
Bhutan, an historic kingdom sealed off to foreigners till the Seventies, has only one physician accessible for each 2,000 individuals.
The borders of the scenic nation are actually shut once more and home lockdowns have been imposed in some areas, whereas screening and testing for Covid-19 have been stepped up.
Prime Minister Tshering has stated Bhutan is trying to combine-and-match vaccine doses as a result of after inoculating 90% of its eligible inhabitants with their first dose of the AstraZeneca shot, the nation ran out of provides.
The deadline to administer the second dose after a spot of 12 weeks is that this month, and the federal government is searching for different provides to take care of the scarcity. (Reporting by Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu and Rupam Jain in Mumbai.

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