Get out of the relax mode

Have we won the battle? No. Are we on the right footing? Yes.

This would be the situation if fighting the Covid-19 pandemic were a battle. With all the five people detected with the virus now testing negative, technically recovering or recovered, we are on the right track in our effort to prevent an outbreak in the country.

The leadership and the guidance provided by His Majesty The King, the effective strategy adopted by the government, the cooperation from the people helped us in early detection and curbing the further spread of Covid-19. Call it the Bhutanese Model, it has been effective thus far.

However, without any new case in about two weeks and many leaving the quarantine facilities, there is a concern that people are getting relaxed. Suddenly, we are seeing more people on the streets. The streets are becoming busier, people are travelling and normalcy is returning.

Thousands of people were allowed to go home after completing the 21-day mandatory quarantine period. Although they were tested and cleared of the virus, there is a small window where even negative could test positive. Cases of recovered people testing positive in many countries are reported. As it is a novel coronavirus, nothing can be ruled out.

With the group coming from affected countries, the government is taking no chance. The government has notified that all business should close shops by 7pm and gatherings, in more than three people, is discouraged. These are purely preventive measures. We have learnt that prevention is the best cure in this epidemic. Countries are locking down, borders are shut and people are canned to stay home.

Here we are not thinking of a lockdown. A little restriction should be bearable especially when it concerns our own health. It is a good sign to see things return to normal, but relaxing too much under the false confidence that we have successfully contained the virus could be disastrous.

Social distancing measure, the cheapest and most effective means of preventing the spread, now proven with evidence, is thrown out of the window. We disband a group of three people, but others gather in packed rooms and auditoriums. Some are organised and attended by those who advocate social distancing. Those questioning are considered to be paranoid.

Restaurants, shops and bars are all seeing more and more people. There is a feeling that the Covid-19 pandemic is over. The risk is still there. Some are sneaking out while some are sneaking in illegal goods including banned substances.

Complacency could be our worst enemy. What we have worked in national unison could be undone with just one new case in the community. The success so far is because we were cautious, prepared well and managed to contain the spread.

All the government and health experts are asking us is to stay home. What if the call was to come out and work? We can surmise that many would stay home.

There is nothing wrong is staying home for a while. After all, as someone said, it is the year of the Rat and little bit of hiding at home will ensure the safety of individual, family, community and the nation.

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