Suppose the second wave of Covid-19 is here, a new variant; hospitals running out of beds and oxygen, waiting for days in the queue to cremate your loved ones; more lockdowns; starvation; and all those suffering that we watch on television. 

At the rate the virus is appearing in the southern dzongkhags, it might not take long before we see this situation in our localities. 

Covid-19 is evolving faster than ever before. The new variants are more dangerous than the previous ones. Reports suggest that medication and preventive measures in place may not be as effective. 

Here is a story from Europe. For three months last year, when the pandemic was emerging in Europe, Sweden did not impose any restrictions. Life went on as usual. Three months later, the virus claimed 5,420 lives.  

Sweden was confident in the sensibility of its people as it refrained from imposing government restrictions. Restaurants, gyms, shops, and a majority of the schools remained open. By contrast, neighbouring countries enforced strict quarantines, banned large groups and locked down shops and restaurants.  The former suffered higher death rates and yet the impact on the economy was not much different. 

Researchers and economists argue that timely lockdowns and relaxation are effective measures both to curb the infection and losses to businesses. 

With the pandemic wreaking havoc in the neighbouring countries, enforcing stricter precautionary measures and raising our guard are only logical moves. India continues to see a huge number of new cases daily and in the past few days Nepal has been witnessing a similar trend in the number of infections.  

The pandemic is hitting all countries wave after wave claiming thousands of lives and devastating livelihoods every day.  It is looming large at our borders. Any complacency and laxity, be it on the part of the public or the authorities, will bring upon us unfathomable crises: economic, social and mental health besides a large number of deaths. 

Random and more frequent testing in high-risk areas, institutions, and populous dzongkhags have to be conducted at a larger scale. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, after all. 

The people must comply with the safety measures. Help enforce the restrictions. De-suups and police cannot be in every place. 

To make things easier in the future, Parliament in this session could enact a law to ensure compliance to mandatory restrictions to safety measures during such a pandemic. All violators of mandatory protocols should be detained at their own expense. 

It is only a matter of weeks before we get the second dose of the vaccine. We have come this far as a united nation guided by a selfless King. We cannot falter. 

Otherwise, we know the consequences.