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Bhutan’s second lockdown experience has been by far better than the last. What is evident is that the nation’s preparedness has improved, say, by leaps and bounds. But there is more to do together as a nation. When there are growing questions from the public as to when the lockdown would be opened, the lack of clarity from the organisations and offices responsible can add to the confusion. There may be bureaucratic and other reasons for the lack of clarity but it must be made clear, at least for some days to come, that lockdown must continue.

There have been inconveniences, although not immediately after the announcement of the second lockdown. More will come the way we seem to treat the threats facing us today. There are many who understand the dangers of opening up or easing the lockdown too soon just as many who do not. There is today a yawning gap in our attempts to appreciate the true magnitude of the problem — challenge — which must be addressed. Sooner it is done, the better. Caving in to the demands of individual comfort and selfishness can throw a spanner in all our efforts to contain the virus from spreading further.

We have arrangements for emergency travel. The people who cannot avoid travelling because he or she has to be someplace else for whatever it is there to succeed, travel arrangements are being facilitated and will remain so. Many have taken the advantage of this provision. Many more could do so for reasons that are officially and personally unnecessary, which could only help the virus spread in the communities. Is there a clear system of checks and balances in place? That’s the question. Every official on duty, wherever they are and in whatever capacity, must ensure that the larger interest of the country and the safety of the public is taken care of.

There is a growing demand from the people that the lockdown be lifted but we must not repeat the same mistake we made after the first lockdown. There will be pressures from various corners to open the lockdown, of course, but we must not lose sight of the implications of our small, careless actions. Covid-19 positives cases being detected on an almost daily basis. On January 2, there were three positive cases from the high-risk clusters — from the areas where there have been cases before. On January 3, two positive cases were detected from the flu clinics. In what is truly a thing of wonder and to be concerned about is that both the cases had no contact with the positive cases.

What we know from all this is that the community transmission of Covid-19 virus that we have discovered may be just the tip of an iceberg. We are also aware of the mutations it has taken since the discovery of the virus itself. While we wait for the vaccines to arrive, which could take a very long time, our best bet would be to contain the rapidity of community transmission of the pandemic by whatever means possible. In the kind of situation we are in today, extension of lockdown is by far the best option.

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