As we enter the second of the three-phase lockdown relaxation, we have much to look back and take stock of the shortfalls and opportunities in our long-drawn-out battle against the unrelenting virus.

From 5 a.m. today—September 4—buses and taxis will be allowed on the roads again. This means business for those who depend on the transport sector for income and convenience for the general public. Considering we do not have new cases and dangers, the movement of all vehicles will soon be permitted.

What we must not forget is that we are still vulnerable. Easing lockdown doesn’t mean the Covid-19 pandemic is dead and gone. Far from it. In fact, we could be in for a longer, harsher lockdown as was and is seen in some countries and cities if, in the euphoria of new-found leeway, we fail to abide by the standing health protocols.

The 21-day lockdown was necessary to allow the frontliners contain the virus from spreading further which could have had us in a very difficult, perhaps even ungovernable, situation. To put in a serviceable communication and service delivery system overnight was challenging but we had to ensure that the lockdown did not become too cumbersome to the people. With all their imperfections, the systems—brought to life as the situation demanded—succeeded in delivering essential items and services to the households.

The question that lingers is whether things would ever return to “normal”. But that’s not important. What is important is that the country and the people should build resilience. In other words, we must be able to cope with the changing dynamics of the pandemic and the threats, which is, of course, easier said than done. 

The days when we did not have to wear face masks and avoid crowd and crowding, alas, may be gone for ever. The “new normal” could be a society of people that is conscious and always on-guard. In these unprecedented times, we have also exhibited sheer courage to adapt to the new ways of organising life and transactions, which could be our very tools to combat the current and future adversities.

As we prepare to ease the lockdown further—from September 7, the final phase of lockdown, all offices will open and operate full-time—we will require more head and eyes to ensure that the standing health protocols are observed by all at all times. It will be challenging but we cannot fail. Or else, we will have thrown a spanner in all that we have so far achieved.

Community transmission of Covid-19 is our biggest threat which calls for more stringent measures to ensure that people follow health advisories ant the standing protocols.

Let there not be another lockdown.