We knew another lockdown would come. With the easing of restrictions in Thimphu recently, the movement of people had increased significantly. In shops and restaurants commotion had become normal. And we had forgotten the importance of wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance. In many places handwashing stands have disappeared. Going by such negligence that seems to be widely prevalent, more lockdowns are likely to follow.

The movement restriction in Thimphu which began from early morning Wednesday, in all likelihood, could extend because positive cases are being detected continuously in the communities. Going by the latest health report, there are more than 3,500 active cases in the country; Thimphu saw 35 new active cases in the last 24 hours. 

As cases peak, it is important that we make every effort to arrest the cases so that the numbers are contained. We might perhaps never return to pre-Covid normal because of the fast-evolving nature of the virus, which is why adhering to standing health and safety protocols is vitally important. There ought to be a renewed emphasis on following safety rules which seems to be losing importance gradually partly because of fatigue.

More important, our front liners have to set an example by giving absolute priority to safety protocols. When some frontline workers tested positive recently, a video of frontline workers without gloves sealing the door of a house where positive case was detected went viral. People began asking whether our frontline workers weren’t being careless, posing risks to the people in the communities. 

Because restrictions are a burden, people are sometimes tempted to breach the rules, knowing full well that they can get infected and danger for others in the communities. Long shut-in can be tiring but we are dealing with an unseen enemy which is why taking risks is pointless. It is important therefore that we co-operate and abide by the standing rules. The sooner we arrest the cases in the communities, the shorter will shut-in be for us.

Unnecessary travel and visits can and must be avoided. Wearing face masks protect one from getting infected by the virus. Personal hygiene must be given special priority. Above all, maintain physical distance.