NEW DELHI: Bhutan’s success in avoiding the coronavirus is almost unrivalled but a rare patient death – the kingdom’s fourth – shows more work was needed to fight the pandemic there, its leader says.
The remote Himalayan nation of around 800,000 people, sandwiched between China and India, has recorded fewer COVID-19 fatalities than almost anywhere else in the world.
The only places with lower official tolls are a small handful of remote Pacific islands and countries that do not publish coronavirus data, such as North Korea and Turkmenistan.
But Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lotay Tshering – a physician who still conducts surgeries on the weekend as a “de-stresser” from the pressures of office – said this week’s death was “a bitter reminder that we need to do more”.
Tshering said in a Facebook post late on Saturday (Jan 29) that “it felt like a bullet-hit to learn that one more precious life died with COVID-19”.
“I grieved with the nation and continue to offer my prayers for our dear friend,” he added.