As we claw our way up in these difficult times, there is a need for a long and deep introspection. Lockdowns bring inconveniences to the people, and the government; it is in no one’s interest. Still, we seem to be creating a fecund ground for challenges that come to us very painfully.

Pointing fingers does not help; spreading rumours makes the matter worse. It seems that we are reluctant to learn from experience. Positive Covid cases are rising—and likely it will continue to throw its weight for some time—and that gives reason for the people to speculate and spread unfounded information, which are, sometimes, detrimental in its scale and impact.

Yesterday, and the day before, when people heard about the dramatic rise in the number of Covid positive cases in the country, there was panic, which led to a dangerous rush in shops and other service centres. In Thimphu, lockdown had just been eased.

Lockdowns are a necessary evil; if the disease is spreading like a wildfire, we need to act sooner to contain the infection, which can be done only by shutting down the movement of people temporarily. But if the shutdowns are so much reviled—even though they are usually only for a few days—, why are we creating such an environment for ourselves?

Lockdowns are difficult because our service systems still need a major refinement. But then, a lot has improved since the first nationwide lockdown. However, somewhere along the line, we seem to be throwing caution in the wind. That is perhaps why the pandemic and its surprising variants continue to cast a pall over our “normal” life and living.

The lesson that we need to learn by now is that lockdowns will be called for depending on the severity of cases in the communities and the country at large. By the same token, we need to be always prepared for the worst. For example, there are reasons why front liners are more vulnerable; more could be done to ensure that our front liners are safe from the virus.

While we cry and whimper about lockdown and inconveniences it brings, we may do well to deeply appreciate what we can do, each individually, to protect ourselves from this bane that shows no sign to recede.

So, what is there for us to do? Adhere to the standing health and safety protocols. Is this too much to ask? If we don’t want another lockdown, wear your mask and avoid unnecessary gathering and travel. The good news is that the virus is showing signs of relenting. But so much will depend on how we deal with it right now because it isn’t dead and gone yet; we are still very vulnerable.