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Bhutan's Daily Newspaper
Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago

Until all are safe

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 11:43

Early during the Coronavirus pandemic, His Majesty The King and several world leaders described it as “a war against an invisible enemy”. In the same language, we are now finding out that it can be a long-drawn-out war. If the speed at which the enemy is moving is worrying, its ability to change its form is frightening.

As Covid-19 emerges in different mutations in different countries, every country or city that has declared some form of victory by relaxing what we now call Covid protocols has been forced to back down. Powerful nations like the US, China, Russia, UK are repeatedly withdrawing into lockdowns and the disciplined cultures of Asian tigers like Singapore, South Korea, and Japan are being tested to their limits. In South Asia and Africa, losing loved ones in large numbers is a norm in this new war.

In the absence of military might, economic strength, and population numbers, Bhutan survived through the ages by drawing on inner strength. Today, in the absence of technological and scientific expertise, we are drawing on the same resilience which His Majesty The King this week called sem-shu

His Majesty emphasises one point which we know but need constant reminders. We are particularly vulnerable at this time because we believe that, having received a second dose of the vaccine, it is time to relax. And that would be disastrous.

We have started making plans to revive our occupations and restore our lives. Some of us are even planning holidays. That we must. But we have a more critical responsibility at hand. We need to get over the crisis before we plan our lives post crisis. 

Today, we cannot lose sight of the real perspective of the situation. It is not time to relax. Every aspect of the global and regional trends conveys a stern warning. Share, don’t hoard. Learn from each other, don’t try to outdo each other. Don’t allow politics to overwhelm people’s health. And to take advantage of the situation for personal gain is stooping to the lowest of the low. 

But as much as we know all this to be true, we know that it would be wishful thinking to believe that even a crisis would change it. 

For small Bhutan, it makes more sense to look at ourselves. We know that our families, friends, and compatriots in the south are not just in discomfort – they are sometimes in pain. They live in claustrophobia and fear, risk of losing resolve and – if it drags on – hope. We know that some of us would buckle under the pressures that they bear. So we pray that all Bhutanese in the south muster the stamina and resilience, not just to hold on, but to come through the pandemic stronger than before. 

His Majesty is himself in Phuentsholing, again, sharing the physical, economic, emotional, mental burden of our front liners. His Majesty is not just providing moral succour but even physical comforts and financial relief. 

We do not forget that we are able to live normal lives, even under such extraneous circumstances, because they are there. Meanwhile the least we can do is to wear our masks, wash our hands, and postpone our parties. And, as many of us talk to our friends and families in the south, we do not forget to say “thank you”. 

As Bhutan climbs to the top of the chart for vaccine coverage and health service response, we view it with relief rather than self-satisfaction. We cannot celebrate too quickly. The pandemic will not be here forever but we are in it for the long haul. In the neighbourhood, India’s fully vaccinated population was 6.77 percent, Bangladesh at 2.6 percent, Nepal at 4.8 percent and Thailand at 5.2 percent as of 26 July 2021. 

Remember the wisdom of the words “no one will be safe until everyone is safe”.

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Contract farmers of Dagana

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 11:42

Choki Wangmo | Dagana

Sidaman Gurung, 40, from Tashiding in Dagana, ventured into what many thought was an unconventional business, in 2015. Today, he is a successful contract farmer with 200 sows (adult female pig) and an owner of Gurung Pig Breeding Farm, supplying piglets to farmers across the country.

“This business has helped me earn income and improve my livelihood while working towards self-sufficiency in the country,” said Sidaman Gurung, who believes that someone has to break the stigma related to meat production in the country. “Our consumption is ever increasing, but local people consider it a taboo to produce meat products locally.”

Earlier this year, he joined as a contract farmer with the Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited (BLDCL). As a member, on a cost-sharing basis, BLDCL supports production inputs such as piglets and feeds to the farmers. Farmers sell their products to the company at an agreed rate.

In a month, he needs a feed worth Nu 700,000 for 200 sows.

According to the agreement, he has to supply 100 piglets to BLDCL’s contract farmers. For each piglet, BLDCL pays him Nu 5,000.

In a year, a sow produces about 16 piglets. On his farm, he has six pigsties with each sty accommodating about 10 sows and piglets.

With such mechanism with BLDCL, many farmers in the dzongkhag said that they do not face marketing challenges.

A dairy farmer from Tashiding, who also wants to join as a contract farmer, said that he observed contract farmers earned more profits compared to non-contract farmers. “Since half the cost is borne by the company, we will be able to produce and earn more.”

A poultry farmer from Goshi gewog, Karna Bahadur, joined as a contract farmer in 2018. “In the beginning, I wasted resources and ran into losses. Marketing was a challenge. With the support of the company, I am experienced and aim to produce more.”

He said that without other sources of income, starting a farm was an enterprising idea. “Vegetable business is not lucrative and is vulnerable to climatic conditions.”

He started the farm with 500 broilers, which has now increased to 1,400.

However, he hopes that BLDCL would increase the farmgate price in the future. For a kilogram of chicken, he earns Nu 180. “If it is increased to Nu 200 a kg, it would be profitable.”

He plans to renew his contract with the company.

There are 34 contract farmers in Dagana.

Enterprise development officer with BLDCL, Reshma Tamang, said that in their recent meeting with farmers in the dzongkhag, there was an increased number of interested people in Tshendagang gewog.

She said that BLDCL facilitates the farmers with desired production and marketing inputs to sustain their farming and encourage incremental production with time. “We learnt that the majority of livestock farmers discontinue farming due to inconsistent input supply coupled with an unassured market to sell their products.”

BLDCL supports farmers with the input supplies such as DOCs, feed, piglets, among others, which reduces financial burden on the farmers.

“The cost-sharing mechanism not only benefits the farmers but it also helps the company to recover investments through livestock products,” she said.

Market, she said, is assured for farmers and the farmers can focus on enhancing the production.

The success of contract farming is impeded by erratic import which affects feed supply to the farmers.

In transporting their products safely, farmers have to arrange ice boxes that are in short supply in the market.

Due to protocols, the farmers said that the pandemic had hampered timely transportation of their products.

In the future, Reshma Tamang said that BLDCL plans to strengthen the cold storage facility and services and ensure consistent input supply. “BLDCL is working towards food security, reducing trade deficit and ensuring that there is production by mass, attributing to wealth distribution.”

According to records with the dzongkhag, Dagana has 203 piggeries and 74 poultry farms. It includes commercial and mega farms.

From 2019 to 2020, the dzongkhag produced 1,14615 eggs, 114.615 metric tonnes (MT) of chicken, and 81 MT of pork.

Through various initiatives like the bigticket initiative, the dzongkhag encouraged increased production.

According to Renewable Natural Resources annual statistics 2020, although the import of meat increased to more than 12,102 MT in 2019 from 10,978MT in 2018, an increase of 10 percent, the import of pork decreased to almost 1,682MT from 1,753MT, a decrease of 4 percent.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

Delinquents win 2021 BoB A League Basketball Tournament

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 11:41

Thinley Namgay

Winning two straight games in the final against Jachungs, Delinquents won the 2021 BoB A League Basketball Tournament held at the Swimming Pool Complex in Thimphu yesterday.

Delinquents defeated Jachungs 93-74 in the second game.

This is the first major win for the Delinquents in the last two appearances in the A League.

The game began with a high note from both the teams. Spectators were of the view that it would take one more day to claim the title by Delinquents.

For instance, in 24th, 48th, and 52nd minutes, Delinquents had difficulty finding the ring. The points were 24-18, 50-44 and 53-53, respectively.

However, in the third quarter, Delinquents dominated the game with more than 10 points. Delinquents players became more vigorous and collaborative.

Jachungs had an opportunity to level up the score. However, they couldn’t capitalise on the chances as the team lost coordination after the third quarter.

The final and semifinals were played on the best of three, where the team has to win two games.  In the first final game on July 26, Delinquents won 102-83.

In the semifinals, Delinquents defeated Wizard 2-1, and Jachungs thrashed Zhoems 2-0.

Delinquents was awarded a cash prize of Nu 99,000 and a trophy. Jachungs got a cash prize of Nu 40,000 and a trophy.

The most valuable player of the tournament was Tashi Tendhar of Zhoems.

Delinquents’ skipper, Lhendup Namgyel, said the win was the comeback from the team as they lost in the semifinal in 2019.

Jachungs’ Pema Tshering said that Delinquents were a competent team. “We have tried our best. We will keep playing and come back stronger next season.”

The fifth season of the tournament was organised by the Basketball Federation of Bhutan from June 6.

BoB sponsored the tournament.

Twelve participating teams played without paying entry fees. All the teams are from Thimphu.

Games were conducted behind closed doors adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols.

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Women’s cricket team prepares for ICC Women’s Asia qualifier

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 11:39

Ugyen Tshering | Intern

National women’s cricket team will be participating in the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Asia qualifier this year in Malaysia from November 21.

The team, currently in Thimphu, has been training for the last six months in Gelephu.

The tournament will be precursor to the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Eight Asian countries—Malaysia, UAE, Kuwait, China, Hongkong, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bhutan—will take part in the tournament.

According to assistant coach, Kumar Subba, the team has been reformed and has been training very hard. “The players are physically and mentally prepared for a good fight”.

Team captain, Yeshey Choden, who has been a national player for the last 14 years, is confident.  “We are better prepared for the tournament and I am proud to lead the team for the first time to the ICC qualifier tournament.”

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

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DRA approves emergency use of Moderna vaccine for children aged 12-17 

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 11:38

Children in the south of the country to receive Moderna starting tomorrow  

Younten Tshedup  

Children between the age group of 12 and 17 years will receive the Moderna vaccine starting tomorrow.

Moderna is the second vaccine that is approved for use in children for this particular age group.

So far, more than 5,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine have already been administered among children in Phuentsholing and Samtse.

The Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) authorised the emergency use of Moderna vaccine for children between 12 to 17 years in the country on July 26.

DRA’s chief regulatory officer, Ngawang Dema, said that the approval was made following European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approval of the Moderna vaccine in children. “The EMA had reviewed and concluded that the Moderna vaccine had the same level of efficacy and side effects in children which were observed in the adult population.”

The health ministry, upon the recommendation of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NI-TAG), stopped administering the Moderna vaccine to the adult population since yesterday.

There are about 50,000 doses of Moderna vaccines left from the week-long campaign.

Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that coinciding with an auspicious day, children between 12 and 17 years would be administered the Moderna vaccine starting tomorrow.

The remobilisation process of the vaccines from all the 1,200 plus vaccination centres is underway.

Lyonpo said: “Our priority is the high-risk areas.   

We have already vaccinated children in Phuentsholing and Samtse with Pfizer. Some 16,000 plus children would receive the Moderna vaccine in the south this time.”

Once all eligible children in the south are covered, Lyonpo said that children in Thimphu will be vaccinated next. “For now, we are looking at around 6,000 children in Thimphu.”

Additional dose of Moderna vaccine would be stored for those children attaining eligible age in the coming months.



Second dose coverage

Latest figures with the health ministry show that 90 percent of the eligible population in the country were vaccinated with their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of yesterday.

Lyonpo said that an achievement such as this was only possible in Bhutan. “Our success is because of His Majesty’s leadership and his continued support in this fight. It is because of the blessings from the Je Khenpo and the religious leaders. And, it is because of the solidarity of our people.”

She said that it would not be long before Bhutan achieves the desired vaccination coverage of 80 percent of the entire population to attain herd immunity. “For a small country, if we can work together, anything is possible. When the entire world is struggling from the pandemic, we are all extremely blessed to be in Bhutan.”

Lyonpo thanked the governments of India, United States, and Denmark for making the second mass vaccination campaign a success.

News of Bhutan’s successful second dose vaccination coverage is already making headlines internationally.

UNICEF Bhutan representative, Dr Will Parks, said: “Bhutan is now a beacon of hope for the region, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has upended lives and devastated families. The successes are testimony to Bhutan’s swift response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

He said that in such challenging times, the leadership of His Majesty The King, the blessings of His Holiness the Je Khenpo, and the collective efforts of the government, local leaders, young people, and development partners have been instrumental in the country’s huge leap forward.

He said that with the home-based vaccination continuing until July 31, the coverage was likely to increase in the coming weeks. “A total of 2,401 health workers helped to vaccinate the eligible population with the second dose from 20 to 26 July across the country, arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic. The precision with which Bhutan conducted mass vaccination campaigns within a week is an extraordinary achievement.”

He also applauded the efforts that went into securing the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines and, in particular, the government’s effort to reach the targeted groups spread across the mountains and dense forests. “Bhutan’s successful vaccination drive is a powerful example of how the donations of vaccines, secured bilaterally and multilaterally, can help protect and save lives.”

He added: “UNICEF and partners are honoured to have assisted the Royal Government of Bhutan in strengthening the cold chain system to store the vaccines.” UNICEF also provided critical logistical and operational support in fast-tracking the shipment of vaccines and injection devices to the country.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

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More relaxations begin in Phuentsholing

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 12:02

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Starting today, one person from one household who is vaccinated, will be allowed to come out with movement card to buy essentials within the sub-zones.

This is for Mega Zone 1 and 2.

Relaxations for Mega Zone 3, which covers Pasakha, Ahlay, and Pekarzhing started on July 23.

Identified shops will also open from 8am to 6pm. 

Import and export will also resume.

Travel will be facilitated as per the existing protocols.

The first week of relaxation in Mega Zone 1 and 2 will conclude on August 2.

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing residents are expecting completion of second dose of vaccination to bring the relief from more than 100 days.

They are also equally aware of the situation and strongly believe in carefulness.

A businessman, Karma Tshering Dorji, said people must adhere to the three most important protocol rules.

“We have to wear mask. We have to maintain physical distance and avoid crowding. We need to wash our hands always,” he said. “Just because we are vaccinated, we cannot get complacent.”

If not urgent or necessary, he said people must stay in their homes and avoid coming out.

Karma Tshering Dorji also said there was a need for extra caution in the integrated vegetable market as it is a crowded place. 

“Let vegetables be available in other shops as well, until the outbreak is completely under control.”

Phuentsholing will see more relaxations from August 3 to 9. During this period, residents can move within their sub-zones on foot. All shops will be allowed to open from 8am to 7pm. Restaurants will be allowed to operate for just take away orders.

The integrated vegetable complex will be allowed to operate in 50 percent capacity.

Construction activities and operation of industries will be carried out in self-containment mode.

Schools and colleges will remain shut, except for those operating in self-containment mode and approved by the Southern Covid-19 Task Force (SC19TF).

Offices, including financial institutions will remain closed.

Funeral rites will be restricted to family members and relatives up to maximum of 15 individuals.

Another resident, Namgay Wangchuk, said his confidence has returned after the second jab. “Relaxation is indeed high time and good move from the SC19TF. We should not let our guards down. Relaxation is done not because Phuentsholing is virus free but due to prolonged lockdown and immense pressure from people. People should remember the King’s recent address.”

He said everything is in people’s hands now—whether to welcome another lockdown or be cautious, responsible and do what is really needful.

Another resident, Kamal, said more relaxations must be given since the second dose of vaccination is finished.

“It would be good to have movement within Mega Zones like last time, after the first phase of relaxation,” he said.“But the red buildings should be monitored.”

The next phase of unlocking from August 10 will be announced later.

SC19TF urged people to exercise maximum caution and religiously observe Covid-19 health safety protocols at all times.

The fourth complete lockdown in Phuentsholing started on July 9 which was supposed to complete in two weeks’ time. However, the second round of vaccination started and the lockdown continued.

Phuentsholing went into the third lockdown from April 17 this year.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

Overseas employment agencies wait for labour ministry’s permission

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 12:02

Sherub Wangmo | Intern

With the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination campaign completed yesterday, agencies sending Bhutanese to work outside, especially to the Middle East, are waiting to resume their business.

Overseas employment agencies operating in Thimphu said they wait for the labour ministry’s permission to resume their business.

An official working for Rumi Overseas Employment Agency they receive about 10 to 12 calls and many messages on their Facebook page every day from youth inquiring when the business would resume.

She said there are many people who have completed all the formalities to go to the Middle East since last year but got stuck because of the pandemic.

According to the official, Qatar is issuing working visa and their clients are waiting for them to send employees. “Employers in Dubai contacted those who worked there but returned home last year due to the pandemic.”

She said overseas employment agencies contacted labour ministry several times on the matter, but officials told them they are waiting for directives from the government.

Labour ministry officials said they would allow the agencies to resume once the government allows them.

They said sending Bhutanese overseas has been on halt since March last year.

Meanwhile, those who returned from the Middle East said they are waiting to go back.

Pema yangchen, 26, who returned from Kuwait said she is eagerly waiting to go overseas and has been frequently calling the recruitment agencies.

She returned last year in March.

She is availing a training on spa and massage.

Edited by Tashi Dema

Implementation of new tobacco Act could take some time

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 12:01

MB Subba

The Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority (BNCA) is reviewing the new Tobacco Control (Amendment) Act 2021, which recently received the Royal Assent.

However, the BNCA has not received any directive from the government on how to go ahead with the implementation of the Act, according to BNCA officials.

The Act states that Bhutan Narcotic Control Board shall “approve rules” but does not mention who will frame the rules and regulations.

The new Act allows import, distribution and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in the country.

BNCA’s officiating director general, Ugyen Tshering, said that he had received a letter from the Speaker stating that the Royal Assent was granted and that the authority should work in accordance with the new Act.

“We are reviewing and discussing the provisions that have been repealed in the old Act, and after the completion of the preparatory work we will present a report to the Tobacco Control Board. Then we will notify the general public about implementation of the new Act,” he said.

He said the Cabinet had taken a copy of the old tobacco control rules and regulations.

Relevant cabinet members were not available for comments.

The Bhutan Narcotic Control Board shall also function as the Tobacco Control Board.

The Board designates smoking rooms or areas in public places under section from time to time, according to the Act.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering at the meet the press on July 9 said that the government would put in place stringent rules and regulations for distribution, sale and buying of tobacco and tobacco products.

“The government will ensure that tobacco is not available in every corner of the place. We will bring in a very professional approach to discourage smokers and chewers, to make sure that anybody, everybody who gets involved in the habit will be accounted for,” he said, adding that rules and regulations were being drafted.

The tobacco Act was amended in the summer session as an urgent Bill in view of continued smuggling of tobacco products through the porous border in the south, which has been identified as one of the main reasons for the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the country.

The government has also done away with the sales tax on tobacco and tobacco products until the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July next year if Parliament passes the Tax Bill 2021. All tobacco products imported from India and sold through outlets are levied 100 percent sales tax.

Edited by Tashi Dema

About 50 percent of social media users susceptible to privacy and security threats

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 12:01

Chhimi Dema

It started as a friendly conversation on Messenger.

Pema, 24, said that she thought her old schoolmate was being friendly, asking about her job and life.

“After chatting for three weeks, he asked me to send him nudes. When I denied, he started sending his nudes,” she said.

It was not just pictures, Pema said. Her friend even wrote her lewd text messages.

“I was disturbed. I was afraid to check my phone whenever I got notifications. I blocked him on the Facebook. That made me feel better,” she said.

Often people misuse and fall prey to scams on social media.

In 2018, a man posted a topless photograph of his former girlfriend on Facebook. The court convicted the 36-year-old man to prison for a year and was made to pay the victim.

According to a study conducted by the Bhutan Media Foundation, Social Media Landscape in Bhutan,  about 38 percent of social media users reported having received spam and indecent posts one or more times; 16 percent of users reported getting trolled; 12 percent reported hacking; and having fallen prey to scams.

The study stated: “Limited knowledge and awareness about ethical, privacy and safety issues, and increasing incidences of exposure to insidious or negative content, social media users may be highly vulnerable to negative experiences and cybercrime.”

About 50 percent of social media users may be highly vulnerable to privacy and security threats, about 35 percent may be moderately vulnerable, and 15 percent may be at low risk, according to the study.

The survey was conducted last year and beginning of this year.

The study aims to generate data on the usage and understanding of social media in Bhutan.

The survey was based on 1,244 respondents and representatives from 26 government, private and civil society organisations.

According to the study, on average, Bhutanese spend about three hours (163 minutes) every day on social media, higher than the estimated global average (145 minutes).

The study showed that 90.5 percent of the respondents were members of at least one social media platform, suggesting that the social media penetration rate in Bhutan is “very high”.

The social media penetration rate in urban areas is 96 percent and 87.6 percent in rural areas. About 91.5 percent of men and 89.5 percent of women were active social media users.

Sonam Wangmo, 24, a corporate employee, said that she has seven social media accounts on different platforms.

“I use them to chat with my friends and update on current happenings,” she said, adding that she spends more than two hours on social media platforms.

According to the study, a regular employee spends the highest time (more than four hours a day) on social media.  An unemployed individual and students spend more than three hours every day.

“The findings that employees (regularly paid and casual) tend to be the most intensive users of social media suggests they may also be doing at the expense of their other engagements, including during working hours,” according to the study.

The survey showed that 73.6 percent of Bhutanese log into their social media account before they sleep, and 43.6 percent of people check social media the first thing when they wake up. The study also showed that, on average, Bhutanese spend Nu 936 in a month on the internet.

Seeking information, entertainment, socialisation, dissemination information and education were the top five purposes of the use of social media in Bhutan, stated the study.

Many Bhutanese use social media to look for houses and sell anything from clothes to pots and pans.

About 83 percent of the survey respondents said that imposition of some restrictions or advocacy programmes were necessary to reduce the excessive use of social media.

The study recommends designing training and awareness programmes to advocate on social media ethics and promote its safe, secure and socially desirable use. “The government may consider developing an overarching National Social Media Strategy which would seek to guide the social media use in the country as a tool to strengthen the relevant domains of Gross National Happiness (such as time use and community vitality) and mitigate adverse effects.”

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

Officials and nomads walk for days for vaccination

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 12:00

Yangyel Lhaden 

Three Thimphu dzongkhag officials walked for more than 12 hours in rain through muddy road infested with leech to Gaytala chiwog under Dagala gewog on July 23 to vaccinate the highlanders.

Gaytala is one of the remotest chiwogs in the gewog. It is officially three days journey from the gewog centre but it takes 12 hours to reach chiwog if people travel via Toktokha village in Chukha dzongkhag.

The three officials, two health workers and a gewog administrative officer, started their journey from Thimphu at 5am and reached Toktokha at 8am via vehicle. The team then walked for 12 hours to reach the chiwog.

Vaccination in Gaytala

The team vaccinated 13 highlanders on July 24 and 25. There are 20 nomads eligible for vaccination in the chiwog. The nomads gathered in the village health worker’s house to receive the vaccination.

A nomad, Tshering Lam, said she did not know which type of vaccination she received. “The officials struggled to vaccinate us and I am not bothered about the type of vaccination.”

She, however, said she was aware of the benefits of the vaccination.

The village health worker, Sangay Khandu, said he was thankful to His Majesty the King for bringing the vaccine at their doorstep. “It would be difficult for us to visit the gewog centre to receive the vaccination as we have to look after the yaks.”

The gewog administrative officer said all highlanders were eager to receive the vaccination. “Some highlanders had to walk for more than two hours to reach Sangay Khandu’s house to receive the vaccination.”

Naro gewog 

Nomads of Naro gewog migrated to a higher altitude to their summer pastureland and couldn’t reach the gewog centre to receive the vaccine.

Thimphu dzongkhag and gewog decided to vaccinate the nomads in their pastureland by creating a new vaccination post in Zomthang, which is situated 4,700 metres above sea level. In Zomthang, 34 nomads received the vaccination. Nomads from Waza, Chagophu, Kora, Layul lay, toed, and Domina walked to Zomthang to receive the vaccine.

The officials also walked for about four days to reach Zomthang.


Nomads in Lingzhi also walked for more than a day and half to reach the vaccination post in Gangyul outreach clinic and Lingzhi Primary School.

The vaccine was airlifted on July 18 and the vaccination began from July 20.

Health assistant of Lingzhi Primary Health Centre, Tandin Tshewang, said unlike the first vaccination campaign where people were reluctant to receive vaccines, nomads were coming forward to receive the vaccine this time.

He said people understood the importance of the vaccine and took the effort to walk in rain and mud for days.

About 470 nomads were vaccinated in Lingzhi.

Tandin Tshewang said there are 507 people eligible for the vaccine but some had been vaccinated in other dzongkhags and seven breastfeeding mothers were not vaccinated.

Edited by Tashi Dema

Paro FC leads the first round of the 2021 BPL

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 11:59

Thinley Namgay

Paro FC (PFC) is leading the first round of the ongoing 2021 BoB Bhutan Premier League (BPL) with  25 points from nine games.

The club from paro is two points ahead of arch rivals Thimphu City FC (TCFC). 

 TCFC trails PFC by two points after they were held again against Ugyen Academy FC. They drew the game  1-1 with Ugyyen Academy FC on July 21. 

Transport United FC is in third place with 18 points, followed by High Quality United FC, and Druk Lhayul FC with 16 points each.  

The first round of the tournament saw  newcomer Druk Lhayul FC competing with the regulars in the BPL. The club is currently ahead of some prominent BPL clubs, such as Ugyen Academy FC and Tensung FC.   

Druk Lhayul defeated Transport United on July 25 1-0.  

Paro FC’s striker, Yeshi Dorji, is the highest scorer so far in the tournament. He scored 15 goals in nine games. Tshenda Dorji of Transport United scored nine goals. 

The last game of the first leg will be played between Tensung FC and Gelephu FC today at the Changlimithang Stadium.  

Gelephu FC is yet to get a point. 

Bhutan Football Federation’s assistant competition officer, Phurba Waiba, said that the tournament’s second leg would start on July 31 with a game between PFC and Paro Rinpung FC.  

Ninety matches will be played in the tournament.

De-suung water project completes in Gomdar

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 11:58

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

With the handing over of De-suung water project to Brongshing and Mokhoma villagers in Gomdar, Samdrupjongkhar, residents will no longer have to depend on stream and pond water for drinking purposes.

The water project that started on April 28 was completed and handed over to the gewog on July 25. More than 50 de-suups and army personnel constructed three reservoirs and laid pipeline in more than 12 kilometres.

The Nu 1.8 million (M) project would benefit more than 56 households in the two villages. If awarded to contractors, it could have cost Nu 3.7M.

During the handing over session, Samdrupjongkhar dzongdag, Tharchin Lhendup, said people of Brongshing and Mokhoma should now take ownership and be responsible for the maintenance.

Two water caretakers, one each from Brongshing and Mokhoma, were trained in plumbing works and handed over the tools.

Gomdar gup, Sonam Tshering, said the gewog included the water project for Brongshing and Mokhoma in the dzongkhag water flagship programme, where dzongkhag would provide materials and people would contribute labour.

He said they were worried if the contractor would complete the work on time if executed under the flagship programme. “But the desuups completed the project within a short period.”

Meanwhile, villagers are happy.

A villager from Brongshig, Kelzang Dawa, said with adequate and reliable water, they can now cultivate more vegetables for commercial purposes. “ We are thankful to the de-suung water project.”

He said the taps in front of the houses will  not remain dry now.

Edited by Tashi Dema

The cost of inaction

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 11:58

More than a month ago, the Tobacco Control (amendment) Bill was put up to the Parliament as an urgent Bill. There was the urgency because smuggling tobacco was becoming rampant, risking the preventive measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Bill was one of the few legislations that sailed easily through both houses of Parliament in recent years. The amended Bill received the Royal Ascent. However, there is hardly anything happening on the ground if we go by how tobacco is still traded in the black market. The Royal assent might have come a week ago, but between the time when the Act was put up to Parliament as an urgent Bill and passing of the Act, we had a lot of time to prepare and work with urgency.

The Bhutan Narcotics Control Authority is waiting for directives from the government as to how to go ahead with the amended Act. There is a lot of paperwork involved and the long bureaucratic procedures could mean that it will take at least a few weeks or more before anything happens on the ground even with an Act, amended despite a lot of controversy and sentiments.

In the meantime, the only active, hard-working and forward-looking were the ones in the illegal tobacco business. Those in the illicit market are way ahead in terms of preparation. Their business plan was clearly laid out even as words of legislating the sale of tobacco spread before it reached Parliament. Some cut down on smuggling, but “suppliers” ensured retailers that it would at least take a few months before the government could act on the amended Act. They were right. Even with a stricter lockdown in Phuentsholing, essentials may be in short supply, but not tobacco.

We experienced how the decision to allow the Bhutan Duty-Free Limited (BDFL) sell tobacco didn’t help the noble intention of the government. Tobacco was cheaper from the BDFL even after paying 100 percent tax. In this context, 20 grammes of chewing tobacco in the black market could buy a dozen packets from the BDFL. The only difference was that for the first time, Bhutanese looked into the black market for quality goods. The goods BDFL was selling were not good and it failed to stop the black market.

The longer we delay, the bigger the implications. There is news that a third wave could possibly enter India through the Siliguri corridor. The corridor borders Bhutan from Sibsoo to Bangtar and we are, if it is true, at a bigger risk of a third wave of Covid-19. 

It is surprising that Bhutan is the only country where tobacco is linked to the spread of Covid-19. But we have seen how lucrative smuggling tobacco in a Buddhist country is undoing all the efforts put in to save the country and its people.

The tobacco law is relaxed to the extent that we can import and sell them without the 100 percent tax. If we take time to implement, what was considered an urgent decision, we are failing again.

More than 85 percent of eligible population receive second dose 

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 11:57

Children below 17 years must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity    

Younten Tshedup  

The week-long campaign for the second round of Covid-19 vaccination fell short by almost 20 percent to achieve the desired herd immunity.

The target was to cover 80 percent of the entire population in the country.

As per the National Statistics Bureaus’ projected population for 2021, the total population in the country is 756,129. This means that more than 604,900 must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

According to the health ministry, 454,186 people were vaccinated at the end of the week-long campaign that ended yesterday.

As per the preliminary data as of 5pm yesterday, the coverage during the seven-day campaign was more than 60 percent of the entire population.

However, there are more than 222,000 people, or 29.4 percent of the total population who are below the age of 18 years. What this means is that without vaccinating children below the age of 18 years, the country would not achieve the required 80 percent coverage.

For this, the ministry has started vaccinating children between 12 and 17 years with Pfizer in Phuentsholing and Samtse. However, the country has access to only 5,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine today.

About 200,000 dose of Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive towards the end of the year.

With the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recently approving the use of the Moderna vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 years, health officials said that the remaining dose of Moderna vaccine in the country could be used in children.

In the meantime, considering only the eligible population or those above the age of 18 years, which stood at more than 533,000 people (preliminary data), 85 plus percent has received the second dose of Covid-19 vaccines as of yesterday.

Records with the health ministry show that 502,015 people (66.4 percent of the total population) received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine as of 5pm yesterday and 446,642 had received their booster dose in a homologous or heterologous regime.

Of the eligible population, about 97 percent or 483,461 people were vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine. More than 438,005 (about 88 percent) received their second dose at the end of the week-long vaccination campaign.

As of last night, more than 422,000 people received the Moderna vaccine as their second dose in a heterologous regime — 24,000 plus individuals opted for AstraZeneca as their second dose.

Two individuals took the Sinopharm vaccine as the first and second dose. Five people, however, were given Sinopharm vaccine as their second dose to their AstraZeneca (first dose), which the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NI-TAG) had not recommended.

While the week-long vaccination campaign has concluded, the health ministry is continuing with the home-based vaccination service for those with mobility issues until July 31.

The rest of the population who could not avail of the vaccination service in the last seven days can get the vaccine from the nearest health facilities after July 31.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk

Study recommends Bhutan’s accession to WTO

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:38

MB Subba 

The Diagnostic Trade Integration Study Update 2020 launched recently recommends Bhutan should join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for better economic coordination and efficiency.

Accession to the WTO mandates the country to give binding commitments to liberalise trading and its adherence to many other agreements of WTO. The WTO provides some flexibility for developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs).

Produced by Department of Trade and UNDP Bhutan, the report states that Bhutan as an observer country is already harmonising its domestic laws with WTO rules and that accession to WTO would not overburden its policymaking processes in these areas.

According to the report, the country would benefit in terms of domestic trade reforms that must be carried out to become a WTO member and the rights of being one.

Being a WTO member means that Bhutanese goods would have a non-discriminatory access to markets of other member countries. The country would also have the means to influence the formulation of new multilateral trade rules as the WTO is a forum for trade negotiations.

A WTO member will have access to information on the trade regimes of other members as members are provided a set of transparency instruments, according to the report.

For instance, Bhutan would have access to the WTO Dispute Settlement mechanism to challenge a member’s trade measures that are contrary to its economic and trade interests.

Bhutan would also benefit from enhanced technical assistance and capacity building support from the WTO secretariat to improve the country’s trade system. These will include assistance for enhancing capacity for domestic economic coordination and efficiency to accelerate trade and GDP growth.

Bhutan had completed a considerable level of technical work and reached an advanced stage in the WTO accession process by 2008 but the accession process was suspended in the same year as serious reservations, including over possible impacts on Gross National Happiness (GNH), were raised.

The proponents of the idea are of the view that joining WTO would help Bhutan attract foreign investments. Trading with countries like India on equal footing as WTO members would also generate trade benefits for the country, they say.

Others argue the Bhutanese market could be flooded with foreign goods and there would be unhealthy influx of goods and services. Such competition from foreign goods, they say, may ruin the country’s growing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

The WTO allows separate binding commitments on tariff for agriculture and non-agriculture items. During the Working Party discussions, Bhutan had offered tariff rates of about 50 percent on agriculture items and 26 percent on non-agriculture.

The report states that agreements that were reached during the past negotiations with WTO may have to be negotiated again as Bhutan is scheduled to graduate from LDC in 2023. The country will have more obligations to fulfil after graduation.

The report states Bhutan missed an opportunity to accede to the WTO as an LDC, which might have been done with lesser obligations. “ But given that about 90 percent of its imports come from India at zero duties, such obligations will remain theoretical.”

However, the report reiterates that becoming a WTO member will give Bhutan a larger platform to participate in trade negotiations and seek technical assistance from the WTO and other countries.

Through FDI, Bhutan has also liberalised many services sectors business services, communication, construction, education and financial, as well as transport services.

The report states that it is expected that demand from WTO members will be for financial services and retail. But given Bhutan’s population size, it is not foreseen that commitments in the WTO will result in a surge of investments for commercial presence, it adds.

The report also states that since Bhutan’s graduation from LDC status is imminent, the terms and conditions of its accession may change and WTO members may ask Bhutan to liberalize more than what it would have committed as an LDC WTO member. “For Bhutan, this may imply greater scrutiny of its trade regime and involve undertaking commitments in new areas involving institutional reforms.”

When a significant part of trade is governed through bilateral trading agreements, the need for multilateral trading agreements becomes less appealing, it states.

Small exporting countries like Bhutan will have to evaluate its current trade costs and position and the anticipated benefits vis-a-vis the required commitments if it decides to reopen talks for its accession to the WTO.

Bhutan was granted WTO observer status in April 1998 and application for membership was submitted in September 1999. Bhutan’s Working Party was established on October 6, 1999, to facilitate the country’s accession.

Tengye Lyonpo (Economic Affairs Minister) Loknath Sharma at the launch said that the study would give a way forward for the government not only on economic recovery but also on the long-term economic goals.

He said that some of the recommendations would be implemented immediately while others would take time depending on the need. “The report has come at the right time as the economy needed recovery.”

It was learnt that the government had not held discussions on joining the WTO.

Edited by Tshering Palden

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Drinking water project to benefit the residents of Tangsibi

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:37

Nim Dorji | Bumthang

For the past decade, 80-year-old Jambay and his family drank from a pond near their home. Of the two ponds, one had dried.

After three months, when the De-Suung national service water project completes, Jambay and his neighbours in Tangsibi in Ura gewog can finally drink clean water.

“We have to go to other places to wash our clothes,” he added.

I was worried when my younger daughter planned to build a house nearby as she will also have to use the same pond for drinking water. It will be sufficient for two households.

But after de-suups turned up in their village for a survey of the water sources, the residents were excited.

Construction of dry land irrigation and drinking water supply was inaugurated yesterday. Forty-five de-suups, two RBA personnel and two technicians will work on the project. The project will benefit 52 households that have similar water scarcity issues, and more than 237 acres of dry land once completed.

Jambay said: “Without contributing a single day’s labour for the project the water is going to come to our house.”

“We’re grateful to His Majesty The King, the government and everyone involved with the project.”

Jampel Singye said that the current water source they use is not reliable.

“With many sources drying up, the people are worried about the water,” he added.  

“Now the project will solve the problem for us.”

The new water source is more than 6km away from the village.

Tangsibi tshogpa Ugyen Tenzin said that as the existing water source of the village is from the marshy area it is blocked every time it rains.  “The taps are filled with muddy water.”

The people have to store the water in the container and let it settle for at least days before consuming.

Edited by Tshering Palden

OTTPs aim to boost Bhutan’s film industry 

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:37

Chhimi Dema

With cinema halls closed for more than a year, the two over-the-top platforms (OTTP)–Songyala and Samuh, give individuals in the entertainment industry a platform to exercise their creativity.

The OTTPs also aim to develop local media content for children with Dzongkha as a medium. Both the platforms launched this year.

An over-the-top media service is offered directly to viewers through OTTP via the internet as opposed to the traditional means of a cable or satellite provider. Examples of OTTP include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO Now.

The OTTPs offer viewers local content such as movies, series, music and educational videos through their platforms.

Chief Executive Director of Songyala, Sonam Ugyen, said that Songyala was developed to provide a platform for local media content. “Except for BBS and local channels, people don’t have options to access local media content.”

He said that there were talented Bhutanese content creators in the market, it was just that the film industry hasn’t been able to tap their skills and talents.

The rise of OTTP is the new normal in the world of entertainment.

Sonam Ugyen said that the pandemic gave impetus to the introduction of the OTTP in the country.

“I had the idea of focusing on creating digital content for children,” he said, adding that the initial idea expanded to the creation of Songyala after he heard about films that were awaiting to be screened.

He added: “We ventured into the business at the right time if not late.”

A challenge, Sonam Ugyen said, was the film producers’ reluctance to share their works on the platform on a cost-sharing model. “A producer might have the opportunity to earn more through the platform but some expect upfront payment.”

If there is easier payment accessibility without compromising the security through the payment gateway, people would be more forthcoming to subscribe to the OTTPs, he said.

This would not only benefit the viewers but individuals in the e-commerce sector, he added.

Samuh has received more than 20,000 subscribers from 65 countries after its launch last month.

Samuh’s Creative Director Kinley Tshering said that the response from people was overwhelming. “The idea of the platform is to launch young talents and present varied genres of local media content.”

He said that the trend in the film industry was making films that sold commercially, and much emphasis was not given on going beyond because of the cost involved. “OTTP expands the horizon for people to be creative.”

Development of children’s content is another objective that Samuh is working on.

Kinley Tshering said that there was no digital content for children in Dzongkha and many children from a young age first learn English before they can speak their mother tongue or Dzongkha.

Expensive internet cost, limitations with the payment gateway, lack of experts in post-production works, and non-existence of production sets were challenges, Kinley Tshering said, that the OTTPs in the country face.

He said that people raised concerns that streaming online would allow others to screen record. “But the platform has a system called Digital Rights Management (DRM) to address piracy issues.”

DRM is a system that uses encryption to protect video content, specialised techniques to securely store and deliver the encryption or decryption keys, and allows the content publisher to set business rules and control who can consume their content.

Edited by Tshering Palden

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Sharing hydroponics dream

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:36

Yangyel Lhaden

When Gaselo Primary School in Wangduephodrang lost its gardening space to construction of a new school building, a new idea struck its agriculture coordinator, Rabgay.

The school today grows vegetables on water inside a greenhouse. Hydroponics – a subset of hydroculture is growing plants without soil by using a mineral nutrient solution in water.

Rabgay was intrigued to start modern farming which took less space. He proposed his hydroponics plan for a budget through the school to the dzongkhag agriculture office and promptly received Nu 123,000.

Rabgay said it was an opportunity for the school to groom young students in hydroponics as students were taught about the technology from class IX. “In small ways with hydroponics farming in school, we can reduce import of vegetables.”

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Last month, in Thimphu, Dorji Tshering set up his hydroponics farm with 54 planters on his balcony. He planted beans, strawberries, garlic leaves, and lettuce.

He said within a month he harvested beans and garlic leaves. He harvested plenty of lettuce regularly.  “The yield is high and hydroponics is a one-time investment.”

Both the men attribute their success to one single source of inspiration, the proprietor of Bhutan Hydroponics, Kinley Wangmo.

Kinley Wangmo said that hydroponics was expensive if Bhutanese imported the system from outside. She studied extensively from international experts on hydroponics and constructed the system.

She was a contractor and currently runs a hardware shop. She knows to plumb and is an experienced self-taught electrician. Building a system was not hard for her.

She used pipes to build a hydroponics system called deep flow technique (DFT) with more than 588 planters where nutrient solution flows through the pipe with the help of a water pump. An air pump feeds oxygen to the plants.

She spends less than Nu 200 a month on electricity to run the entire farm. This winter she plans to use solar energy.

She imported accessories such as portrays, pH meters, and net cups. Her complete system was constructed at a cost of Nu 360,000. She said with an improvised design she could reduce the cost by manifolds.

Kinley Wangmo wants to share her knowledge. She said that only by sharing can the Bhutanese realise the long-held dream of self-sufficiency. “The pandemic made it so clear how important self-sufficiency is.”

The main advantage of hydroponics is that the system can grow plants and vegetables much faster than on the conventional setting in soil and needs much smaller space.

Bhutan today has about eight percent or 277,000 acres of arable land.  Of this total, only 23 percent is being cultivated.

“Bhutan’s agriculture is dependent on monsoon rain and with changing climatic conditions, water shortage is a major issue,” Kinley Wangmo said.

Her hydroponics system uses about 150 litres of water and she changes the water once every 15 days.

She said she wanted to help youth embrace hydroponics as youths were not interested in the nature of traditional farming. “In hydroponics, you only need to monitor pH, temperature, and nutrient level every three days.”

She currently provides free consultancy services for a year and sells a complete system with 54 planters and accessories for Nu 17,800. An imported system with 20 planters without accessories costs Nu 17,110.

Yam Bdr Gurung, who is a farmer in Chokhorling, Sarpang, wants to start hydroponics. He has a Master degree in agriculture.

He said, “It is hard to get a loan for hydroponics as it is a new technology in the country.”

Yam Bdr Gurung received a hydroponics kit from Kinley Wangmo as a gift for hands-on experience on hydroponics. He said he needed at least Nu 500,000 to start hydroponics on small scale commercialisation.

Rinzin Dorji, an agriculture teacher with Nagor Middle Secondary School in Mongar also wants to start hydroponics in the school. “The curriculum mandates the teaching of hydroponics.”

He said he wanted to introduce hydroponics as an educational model. “I am working on a proposal for a budget to submit to the dzongkhag administration to start hydroponics in school.”

Meanwhile, Kinley Wangmo remains open for conversation with anyone interested in the technology. She wants to open a hydroponics training centre one day.

Edited by Tshering Palden

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Indian Embassy marks the first sermon of Lord Buddha 

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:35

Thinley Namgay

To celebrate the first sermon of Lord Buddha, the Indian Embassy in Thimphu organised a dialogue on the “relevance of the teachings of Lord Buddha in the age of technology” on July 24.

Her Royal Highness Princess Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck graced the event.

President of Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness Research, Dasho Karma Ura and the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bhutan, Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye shared their views on the subject. The discussion was moderated by the Executive Director of the Bhutan Nuns Foundation, Dr Tashi Zangmo.

Dasho Karma Ura said that the whole essence of the Buddha’s teachings were consciousness, ethics, and bodhicitta, which were still applicable in the age of technology. He said that a calm and contented state of mind was critical.

The four noble truths of the Buddha during the first sermon are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye said that some of the essential teachings of Buddha were four noble truths, the law of Dharma and Dharma chakra (wheel of the dharma of truth), which are relevant in all walks of life.

Lyonpo also said that he used to refer kanjur (collection of sacred texts) while enacting laws.  Quoting Albert Einstein, Lyonpo said that if any religion could survive in the age of science and technology, it is Buddhism.

With support from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, the International Buddhist Confederation organised the Asadha Poornima – Dharma Chakra global celebrations on July 24 to commemorate the Dharma Chakra Parvattana, the first sermon of Lord Buddha.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering also took part in the event, virtually. Lyonchhen said that the life and teachings of Lord Buddha have always given a great source of inspiration. “Celebrating the first ceremony of Buddha amid the pandemic gives us the spiritual reinforcement and to remember those who lost their beloved ones to the pandemic.”

The Prime Minister said: “Material wealth as we know has taken a central stage in most of the globalisation efforts. Is it in line with Lord Buddha’s timeless teaching on contentment and loving-kindness?”

Lyonchhen said that Bhutan was fortunate to have a Dharma King who considers well-being as his secret duty and regards problems and sufferings as his.

Edited by Tshering Palden

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Man dies 40 hours after second dose of Covid-19 vaccine 

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:34

… Death not related to vaccination say NI-TAG experts and family members 

Younten Tshedup

Forty-hours after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, a 59-year-old man from Lhamoidzingkha, Dagana, died while asleep at home on the night of July 23.

The deceased had received the Moderna vaccine as his second dose on July 21. His death, according to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NI-TAG), was not vaccine-induced or related to vaccination.

NI-TAG member, Dr GP Dhakal, said that the deceased had hypertension and was on medication, and he was also obese. “Following the vaccination, he had not reported any side effects or adverse events. If there were some issues with the vaccine, reactions should have happened immediately or at least within 12 hours.”

Dr Dhakal said that the NI-TAG upon investigation in coordination with the gewog officials and medical officer in Lhamoizingkha, concluded the death was due to heart attack.

It was learnt that the deceased after receiving his second dose of vaccine was actively involved in his regular chores. He attended a meeting with the villagers and tshogpa regarding a road issue. Later that day, he also attended a funeral ceremony in the village.

Speaking to Kuensel, family members of the deceased said that he had consumed some oily food and a few drinks of alcohol at the funeral. “He wasn’t known for drinking even otherwise,” said one of the family members.”

After he reached his home, the deceased had dinner with his wife and went to bed. Around midnight, the wife who woke up after she felt a chill, called for her husband asking for a blanket. There was no response from her husband.

The wife then called the gewog tshogpa and neighbours for help. An ambulance from Lhamoizingkha hospital picked him and arrived at the hospital at around 1am. The man was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor.

“We are all shocked with his untimely demise but we do not think it is because of the vaccine,” said a family member who requested anonymity. “During his first vaccine dose, he did complain of minor side effects like headache and fever. But this time, besides the pain at the injection site, he did not complain of any other side effects.”

Dr Dhakal said that even without the vaccine, about two people died in Bhutan every day. The baseline death rate of Bhutan has not changed with the introduction of Covid-19 vaccination programme, he said.

He added that so far, no major side effects were reported during the second mass vaccination campaign. In the past six days, 431,754 people received their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine. A total of  3,028 people reported side effects that included headache, fever, fatigue, and tenderness at the site of injection.

Edited by Tshering Palden

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