Barely a month after the second nationwide lockdown, what we see is deeply unsettling.
Have we forgotten the two nationwide lockdowns that had a huge impact on the livelihoods of people? Businesses came to an almost complete halt. Many sectors are still reeling under the pressure and impact of the pandemic.
A look around the towns tells us that going the by the number of parties or gatherings we witness these days, we are becoming more careless by the day.
We do not see hand-washing stands along Thimphu’s busy Norzin Lam anymore. Shops are almost always packed; no one takes physical distancing seriously anymore. As schools open, it’s a busy time for shops and parents, who rush to buy uniforms and stationery. Sports complexes are fully open…
What all these show is that we have become complacent just because we haven’t seen Covid-19 positive cases in recent days. Covid-19 is still a major threat. We cannot forget the implications of the virus on individuals, families and the national coffer.
Businesses incurred huge losses. Many families had to rely on Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu. Savings that families made over years for their children’s education or for a retirement home, exhausted within months. Among others, the government spent millions on distributing food items and on testing kits.
Many properties and business licences are on sale.
Just before the second nationwide lockdown, a health expert warned that, in the event of a large community outbreak, the sick, weak, and old would be severely affected. Hospitals will be overwhelmed with patients, crematoriums will be filled with corpses, and the country’s health system will have to confront resource shortage.
The local representatives or the thromde officials must act and be firm.
The ministries responsible will have to intervene, too. What must happen is loud and clear. Wear face masks, maintain physical distancing, and hand-washing must be made mandatory. Shopkeepers, most of all, will have to insist on these simple measures.
As schools reopen, we cannot take the risks lightly. The danger is that all we have achieved so far could amount to nothing.
Unfortunately, we lost a life to Covid-19. Our safety is our responsibility. It falls on each one of us to ensure that we rise above with courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
That’s been Bhutan’s narrative so far. And so it must remain.