The nation paused to listen to the His Majesty The King yesterday evening. The short address to the nation, on recent developments, came as an assurance when the country is going through a difficult time because of the new coronavirus.
His Majesty called on the people to come together, work as members of a family in facing the threat posed by Covid-19. His Majesty said that our smallness and the good experience of the King, government and people coming together in times of need could help us get through the problem.
Since the first case was reported in the country, His Majesty The King had been on the frontline overseeing preparedness and coordinating national efforts in ensuring the well-being and the safety of the people.
Entry gates to the country along the southern borders would be closed from today. It is a preventive measure to ensure the safety of the people. Many countries have sealed their borders. More are following it. This should not be a cause of panic among our people. The government already assured that there are enough stocks to last for three months. Panic means chaos and this is not what is expected at this crucial time.
What each individual could do at this important time is help the government and health officials, those manning the border, those tending to people quarantined in luxury hotels and those confused with fake news. What we can do, as one, is cooperate and listen to health advisories, cautions and above all be honest.
All the restrictions, some at a huge cost to the government, are a part of our effort to control the spread of the virus. We have recorded only two cases. Not a single Bhutanese has tested positive so far. The effort and the wish is to see that none of us are infected.
The risk of Covid-19 is literally at our doorstep. India, with which we share open and porous border, recorded about 396 cases as of last night. Their own health experts are saying this is just a tip of the iceberg. In neighbouring West Bengal, the fourth case was confirmed yesterday. Bihar reported one positive case. The risk is imminent.
At home, besides the threat from Covid-19 we are concerned about students missing classes and businesses losing income. Even here, there is assurance with the government initiating online learning and working on an economy stimulus plan.
It is troubled times. While there are assurance, it is also a time for the people to play their part to sail through rough times. We cannot leave everything to the government. There are gestures from individuals and organisations, private and public, but there are also others who feel inconvenienced due to measure like mandatory quarantining.
We are fortunate that we are spared, as of now, from the experience many are going through. We are fortunate that we have not gone through bad time in recent memory. We have reaped the opportunities during peaceful times.
It is time to heed to the call. It is time to come together.