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BhutanCoronavirus

King of Bhutan announces borders will close in televised address to nation over COVID-19


Royal Office for Media

The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar, addressed his nation today regarding the COVID-19 outbreak saying that from Monday, Bhutan’s borders would be closed.

“Starting tomorrow, our land borders will be sealed.

“We are compelled to take this drastic measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you have been made aware through various government bulletins, the virus is spreading, causing immense disruption worldwide, and drawing closer to us each day,” he said.

His Majesty also stressed that this was to safeguard the Bhutanese people, “At such a time, the health and safety of the people of Bhutan is of the greatest priority, and as such, we are putting in place every measure necessary to safeguard the people of Bhutan.”

Bhutanese citizens who are overseas will receive help from the government in returning home. The King asked those who work or study abroad to not worry.

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English translation: Starting tomorrow, our land borders will be sealed. We are compelled to take this drastic measure in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you have been made aware through various government bulletins, the virus is spreading, causing immense disruption worldwide, and drawing closer to us each day. At such a time, the health and safety of the people of Bhutan is of the greatest priority, and as such, we are putting in place every measure necessary to safeguard the people of Bhutan. Should those of you who are abroad at this time wish to return home, the government will help you. I ask those of you who are studying or working abroad, not to worry. COVID-19 will cause great disruptions to the global economy, and Bhutan will not be an exception. The economic repercussions will not just impact a select few sectors, but each and every one of us. At such a time, we must exhibit the strength that comes out of our smallness, remain united and support one another. During such exceptional circumstances, the government will take the responsibility of alleviating any suffering to the people due to the virus. As you know, all schools have been closed as a preventive measure, and children are at home instead of in their classes. We do not know when the situation will improve and schools can be reopened again. Parents must guide their children, and children must take it upon themselves to use this opportunity to continue studying- at your age, education should be your most important concern. Do not waste time. On the part of the government, there are already plans to make learning materials as widely available to students as possible. Internet providers, television, and even newspapers, have been tasked to bring learning materials to you. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take advantage of the avenues that will be made available to you. According to experts, the elderly population is at the greatest risk from COVID-19. We must take care of our elderly, protect them, and ensure that their environment is safe and clean.

A post shared by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar (@kingjigmekhesar) on

He did touch on the economic repercussions the deadly virus will have on Bhutan; His Majesty remarked, “At such a time, we must exhibit the strength that comes out of our smallness, remain united and support one another. During such exceptional circumstances, the government will take the responsibility of alleviating any suffering to the people due to the virus.”

Schools in Bhutan are closed, and King Jigme Khesar said it is not known when they will reopen. The government will provide learning materials to students. He asked parents to instruct their children at home, and he asked children to learn on their own saying, “At your age, education should be your most important concern. Do not waste time.”

The King concluded by stating, “As a small country with a small population, we can overcome any challenge we are faced with, if the people and the government work together.”

“It is important, however, to not lose sight of our national objectives, and aim to bring normalcy as soon as possible so that when this pandemic is behind us, we can continue to work on making our future better and stronger. In the meantime, we will continue to work ceaselessly through this challenging situation.”

Bhutan has two active cases of COVID-19.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.