Covid-19 cases have risen suddenly. And it is growing.
While we have focused on the bigger population centres and dzongkhags, it seems that we have been far too easy with the threats along the borders, especially in the north and east.
The Covid-19 hotspots today are in Trashigang and Samdrupjongkhar. The number of case detection there is alarming. We are still investigating the cases and trying to figure how such a rapid spread happened.
The people think we could have been much more vigilant. Highlanders cross borders easily and they have a long pasture range across the dzongkhags.
Focusing on the bigger population centre was right because of the fast-spreading nature of the disease. However, even in the so-called bigger towns, Covid-19 protocols are disappearing, or so it seems. There are no hand-washing stands and the shops do not care whether customers scan Druk Trace which can make contact tracing easy.
Just for the perspective, the government has until now spent about Nu 578.7 million (M) on hotels that have served as quarantine facilities.
We are small and smallness has been our biggest advantage, but our smallness can also be our biggest disadvantage. It is in this reality that we need to discuss our fight against Covid-19.
What can we do about the rising cases of Covid-19 in the east and south of the country so?
The first is tracing. We must go full-on with this programme to find out who could be the next victim of the disease. At the same time, we must ensure that arrangements are made to protect the people.
Simply put, maintaining the health protocols is the best weapon we have against the virus. When the cases shot up in ones and twos, health officials’ stand was that their priority was to control and manage the outbreak efficiently and not finding the source of the outbreak. This will not work.
The effort to address this problem should be two-pronged—we must get at the source and manages the spread at the same time.
Here is a new lesson for us all—Covid-19 spread can be much more challenging in rural Bhutan than its urban centres where health services and intervention can be availed quickly.
But getting at the source is the key.