On Friday, the Bhutan Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced that a 76-year-old American traveller who entered the country from India was found to test positive for the deadly coronavirus. This has become the country's first confirmed case since the mass outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The American was travelling with 8 other co-passengers-- all Indians-- on a plane from Guwahati to Paro. All 8 have been put under quarantine, said the PMO on social media.
The announcement of the PMO was followed by a live telecast where Bhutan Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering addressed the nation at 9 am.
As a precautionary measure, the country has enforced restriction on movement of tourists into the country for two weeks. The PMO said that the American tourist was currently on “oxygen support”, adding that the person came in contact with at least 90 people and efforts were being taken to trace them.
In a press release posted on the Bhutan Prime Minister’s Facebook page, the government said, “The patient is a 76-year-old from the United States of America, who had come to Bhutan as a tourist. He had entered the country from Paro International Airport, after embarking Drukair flight KB241 from Guwahati, India on March 2.”
“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. At the Paro International Airport, the patient’s health declaration form was assessed. He had indicated “negative” against all conditions. He did not have a sign of fever,” the statement said.
It was only on Thursday when the man tested positive for the virus.