It is confirmed. There is local transmission of Covid-19 in Phuentsholing. Five people tested positive and 18 tested positive on the IgG, which indicates that they were infected.

How does this change our fight against the novel coronavirus?

Phuentsholing has been declared a red zone. There are strict restrictions and more people are being tested. As of yesterday evening, about 2,000 people, two from each household, were tested. The health ministry fielded 20 teams to screen all the residents to ensure that the virus is not spreading to other parts of the country. If there are more cases, they will be separated, isolated, tested and treated. The priority is to contain it.

A case in the community means the virus can spread fast. But that is only if we are not prepared and are complacent. The attention is on Phuentsholing. Besides those on the frontline giving their best to contain a rapid spread of the virus, we have the biggest weapon. Let us listen and cooperate with the authorities.

The government is pleading with the people to cooperate to help contain the spread of the virus. Help, here, is simple. They are only asking us to stay home and follow the rules and protocols of lockdown. The purpose of the lockdown is to prevent the spread. While it has caused inconveniences, it was not the intention.

As a commercial hub, thousands of people and vehicles had left Phuentsholing to other parts of the country before the lockdown was enforced. The concern is that people could have been exposed to the virus. The request is to report to authorities if anybody had left Phuentsholing since August 1. We can only trace and test if people report.

The greatest service to the nation during this pandemic is being honest and informing authorities of our travel history. This is not to punish people. It is to prevent the virus from spreading further. For those who are worried, it is comforting to know that we have 138 positive cases so far. Nobody had to be put on a ventilator. Some are saying that except the boredom at the isolation or de-isolation ward, it is just like another day spent alone. The problem is the vulnerable group or if cases go out of hand.

We all grew up learning that prevention is better than cure. This is the appropriate time to put it into practice. We can be our own saviour.

Meanwhile, as lockdown enters the seventh day, we are seeing improvements on all fronts. Those “inconvenienced’ by lack of essentials or fresh vegetables should receive their share from tomorrow. On the command of His Majesty The King, a card system was initiated yesterday.

By late evening yesterday, appreciations for the access card replaced frustration on social media. In the dzongkhags, local authorities are ensuring that nobody goes hungry. Villagers are carrying rice bags, oil and other essentials home even at places where roads are blocked

Inconveniences will not last long. It is in our hands. If we cooperate, we will win the fight against Covid-19.