As of December 21, 2020, Bhutan has 467 confirmed COVID-19 cases, all of which are from overseas travellers, and no related deaths. The landlocked country sealed its borders in the beginning of March and implemented domestic travel restrictions, school closures and work-from-home measures. Returnees from abroad are quarantined for 21 days—a week longer than in most countries—in designated facilities. Several positive cases in border towns in August resulted in mass testing and strict lockdowns, which were extended until mid-September. Commercial passenger flights to and from India and Thailand resumed in mid-October. Bhutan’s universal health care system enabled the country to provide testing and quarantine services free of charge, while state-sponsored volunteer organizations provided effective public health communication and logistical support. Though the government has provided income support for those unemployed due to pandemic measures, unemployment continues to rise as the tourism industry, which is the country’s second largest economic sector, remains shuttered.
Bhutan’s Quick and Flexible COVID-19 Response (April 29, 2020)