Never has fever been looked upon with much suspicions or sneeze sounded so frightening. 

With the coronavirus making headlines every hour, fever or a sneeze, also symptoms of a common cold, is causing anxiety if not panic.

Prime Minister, a medical professional, has urged the people to not panic, but to be concerned about the deadly virus that has now spread to over 22 countries and has come closer to our doorstep.

There is no doubt that we should be concerned about the disease that the World Health Organisation has declared a public health emergency. The virus has created consternation around the world because it is fatal.

We should be concerned because there are new outbreaks in places where health control is extremely effective. The thought of  the disease spreading to poorer countries is his high.  That is dangerous. Thailand, a more developed county in Asia, has said it has run out of capacity to control the disease. For Bhutan, prevention is the best cure. And we should be more vigilant.

If India and Nepal that confirmed a case each is closer to us, some of the affected areas are common ‘stomping grounds’ for the Bhutanese. 

We should understand the situation. Bhutan may not be a high-risk area yet. But the high mobility and the porous borders are a risk. The number of deaths is increasing by the day. Prevention the cheapest and safest way out.

The government has stepped up surveillance at the entry points, readied contingency plans and cautioned people from travelling to high-risk places. It is mulling over suspending flights to and from affected countries and asked government officials to postpone trips abroad. Some counties have sealed their borders due to increasing threat from he disease.

Prime minister is urging people to avoid travelling abroad and to be cautious. The government is doing its share, but like prime minister said, much would depend on the individual. 

There is no harm is postponing the Nyakor to Nepal or a holiday to Bangkok. It has become the responsibility of every Bhutanese to prevent the deadly virus from entering our country.

The tricky part of the Wuhan virus is that symptoms appear days or weeks after contacting it. This complicates prevention efforts. The best is avoiding contact with those affected. The measures to protect ourselves from the virus are simple and cheap. Washing hands with soap and water, avoiding close contact with anyone with fever or cough, not consuming raw or under-cooked animal products and seeking medical care for the slightest fever, cough or difficulty in breathing can play a big part in preventing the coronavirus from spreading.

In the absence of medication against the virus itself, precaution is all we can do and should. In other words, we need to be careful, but there is no cause for panic. 

At this stage, preparedness, awareness and being responsible is the only answer.