It is Chunyipai Losar today, a festive occasion celebrated widely across the nation. Normally, such occasions involve visiting friends and families, lavish flow of food and alcohol and merrymaking. This time, though, in the pandemic times, we might want to keep the celebration small, low-key, indoors and strictly a family affair.

Even as many countries have begun rolling out vaccines, Covid-19 likely will linger on for some time. The pandemic’s new strains are found to spread almost twice as fast. And positive cases, particularly in Thimphu, are rising. What is evident is that where it  not for the lockdown, we would have been overwhelmed by the number of positive cases.

Protocol breach has been our biggest challenge. Positive cases exploded after Nyilo celebration on January 2. It was found that even during lockdown people had visited places; some had even played archery. That’s why all celebrations must be kept indoors and small. We can do away with visits to friends and families.

The urge to go out and have fun will be irresistible, of course, but the danger of not respecting the protocol could prove disastrous. All that we have so far achieved together to keep the nation and people safe will go down the drain. Case management and cost of care could land us in  deep trouble.

No doubt lockdown experience is difficult for many. Working from home has become a norm. In some cases, however, working from home has been found to be by far more productive. One of the major complaints has been that shops in the zones do not have enough essential items. In an ideal situation, the shops should have all the essential items so that with safe and logical arrangements people can buy what they need. But these are no ideal times. There will be problems but efforts are being made to address the problem.

What is important is that we need to abide by the lockdown protocol and rules. Otherwise, there will be more positive cases in the communities which will lead to prolonged lockdown. The more strictly we follow the rules, the shorter will the lockdown be. It is in this context that the losar celebration should be small and strictly family affair.