The government has come on record that Bhutan is preparing to reopen its borders after the Covid-19 called for a strict and long shutdown. While it is good news for businesses and the economy, we can ill afford to throw caution to the wind. Reopening, so, must be carefully planned and structures built to protect ourselves from the virus that is still running rogue.

Because we do not now have as many Covid positive cases in a day, some kind of complacency has already taken root. Such a development in society must be a cause for concern. One of the greatest scourges of the century is still a significant threat; we can not, therefore, take it lightly.

We need only to look at the situations in our neighbouring countries and the world beyond where the Covid-19 continues to overwhelm people, governments and their health sectors. India, our closest neighbour, has been grappling with a sudden rise in the number of Covid positive cases.

The Indian state of Maharashtra recently saw a rise of 15 percent positive cases with the rate of positivity hovering at around 10 percent. As the number of previously infected people are contracting the virus again, many are asking whether antibodies from the previous infections could be waning. We still have a lot to understand about the virus and its curious behaviour.

It is in the nature of the viruses to retreat and revive, which means if we do not take necessary precautions, we can be infected again. Thankfully vaccines have been developed and made available to the people. However, the fact is that the vaccine to not protect us fully and eternally. Scientists are already predicting that the new wave of the pandemic could be by far more devastating than the last one we experienced.

While some may take it lightly by saying that the whole new development needs concrete study, we can not push the tested and effective protocols to a back seat. We may do well to understand our vulnerability in the context of resources and available manpower in the health sector.

Reopening is a good decision but we cannot afford to be complacent.

Now more than ever, we need to impose stricter protocols. At least hand hygiene and mask-wearing must be made mandatory. Some service sectors such as banks still maintain stringent Covid-19 protocols. Other institutions and places where large gatherings happen must follow suit and beef up safety requirements.

Information, education, and communication are still very important. Covid-19 is here to stay and will continue to terrorise us for some time.

The need of the hours is sensible restrictions and meaningful requirements. The public must render full support to the government’s decision.