PARO — Those entering Bhutan need not quarantine for five days anymore. They can test at the port of entry and go home or to a hotel.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced the changes Sunday evening and became in effect on Monday.
However, the travelers should follow mandatory stay home or hotel quarantine for 24 hours or until an RT-PCR negative test result is declared. “Stay home or hotel duration will be strictly monitored,” the press release from the PMO stated.
The press release stated that upon the arrival at the point of entry, while test samples will be collected, proof of vaccination certificate or evidence of Covid-19 infection in six months prior to the visit will have to be produced. Anyone testing positive will be required to self-isolate for five days at home or in a hotel.
The protocol has been lifted after the country has continuously seen a low positivity rate (1.46 percent) and promising trends of zero fatalities and hospitalisations so far, the PMO release stated.
Besides Paro, Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrupjongkar, the test results at other points of entry may take more than 24 hours due to the non-availability of the RT-PCR testing facility. Those already undergoing the five-day quarantine and who have tested negative will be allowed to end their quarantine from Monday.
“As we cautiously move forward, vaccination and booster will be a critical tool in our collective effort to end the pandemic,” stated the press release. “It is a significant milestone in the country’s fight against the pandemic.”
The PMO stated that from the non-compromising 21-day to 14-day to five-day and now being able to do away with it completely is a feat every one of us achieved together. “It has served the purpose of securing the nation from the disease and its multiple variants.”
In the press release, the Bhutanese government thanked all the frontline workers and the general public for their exceptional support and solidarity in fighting against the dreadful virus.
Many welcomed the announcement.
A corporate employee, who returned from a trip abroad recently said that the five-day quarantine was a hassle and not required given the pandemic situation today. “It was a problem for both the government and the individuals.”