As Covid-19 scare dies down slowly, people seem to be taking things lightly which is evident from the instances and ways people have begun flouting the strict measures being put in place. Businesses have been found to be open even after 9pm and large gatherings are becoming common again.

These new developments are signs that tell us we have managed the pandemic well but the risks are never very far. Only regular and strict monitoring can guarantee that we do not expose ourselves to this deadly and unrelenting virus.

Early this week, police and de-suup on duty found 17 people revelling on drinks in a Thimphu restaurant after 9pm. The restaurant was locked from outside. What the merrymakers inside seem to have forgotten is that they could be making themselves heard outside.  

There have been many such cases even when the Covid-19 scare was at its peak and it continues to be so after repeated warning from the officials. Some officials on duty have even been threatened and abused for doing what they are paid for and authorised to do. The problem is that people use their connections and association with the bigwigs to sidestep the standing rules, making a mockery of the rules and officials on duty.

The news that vaccines for Covid-19 is now very much within reach brings much-desired comfort to mind but perhaps it is because of this very reason that many have begun to not take the standing measures and protocols seriously. Walk along the thoroughfares of Thimphu anytime of the day or night, for example, and one is likely to come across people without facemasks. Social or physical distancing has become a thing of past.

Vaccines may have been found—tests are being carried out in many countries—but it will still be sometime before we have it here. With porous borders and people sneaking in and out the danger of community transmission of the virus is a threat that we can ill afford to overlook.

The advantage of regular and more stringent measures is that we can also ensure that illegal businesses aren’t given fecund ground to flourish. Thimphu police have reportedly come across many businesses operating without a licence. And it is precisely in such places that large gathering of people are found.

There may be overt and covert resistance to stricter measures and regular checking but it is all the more reason to empower the officials so that they are able to carry out their duty without fear of any person or office. Breaching public order and tranquillity is a crime.