To the relief of the capital city’s residents, the third lockdown in the capital lasted only about 44 hours, prompting some to call it a false alarm and others, a decision made in haste. With the lockdown lifted, the joke being shared is that shopkeepers influenced the health ministry to call a brief lockdown to help business.
We were fortunate that we did not have to lock down the city for a week or 21 days. It was nevertheless a close call. Patient zero, if it was confirmed, was in a school. We could only imagine how far and wide the virus would have spread. The student tested negative twice, once on the reconfirmation test. So did the thousands of contacts that were traced and tested within a day.
As we return to “normal” life, the brief lockdown comes as a reminder of our vulnerability and the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus. The government had put in the most stringent measure to prevent the virus from spreading. We know the delta variant spreads faster and doesn’t differentiate age of the victim. It is said that the young are more vulnerable and we have now about 100 children testing positive to the virus.
It was also a reminder of how complacent we were getting. The Covid-19 protocols still stand, but not many follow it as we enjoy the comfort ensured by the thousands of frontline workers working day and night along the borders, north and south. It is also a cruel reminder that we are still in a pandemic year and that one wrong step can undo all the efforts and resources put in.
The lockdown also came as a blessing in disguise. Health officials managed to collect and test 2,087 samples. All the tests came negative to indicate that there is no coronavirus in the community, at least as of now. The samples were collected from nine different locations in the capital city and the results indicate that the city as of now is safe.
However, if the lockdown came as a test to see if the city’s residents were prepared, most of the residents failed. We cannot expect people to panic-buy on a Saturday evening. Generally, we do our weekend shopping on Fridays and Saturdays. Scenes around the city, a few minutes after the lockdown was announced, tell us that we have to improve on this front. Few minutes after the lockdown was lifted, there was another rush.
Meanwhile, lockdowns are also relaxed in Trashigang and Jomotsangkha indicating that we managed to control the outbreak. People there are still cautious. It was only on the third day that people started coming out in Trashigang. As of now, our thoughts are with the people of Phuentsholing who are locked inside for nearly two months. Their sacrifices means we are safe here.
While we can only empathise with them, it is a clear reminder that the threat from the pandemic still looms large. As of today, all is well. But it can be totally different tomorrow, all because of our own actions. We just experienced this over the weekend.