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In the face of the pandemic that is increasingly proving relentless, even a small negligence on our part could prove to be catastrophic.

Even as Bhutan has been singularly successful in dealing with Covid-19 cases, the news that five foreign worker had entered the country illegally woke us up to the fact that we can be dangerously reckless.

The officials who acted swiftly deserve our praise; the persons who acted selfishly and in a manner so irresponsibly do not have our sympathy.

As the matters stand, the factory that brought the workers from across the border has been placed under complete lockdown and the five foreign workers and two individuals who came in close contact with other workers have been placed in facility quarantine. Tests are carried out.

When it comes to such incidents that threaten to throw a spanner in our efforts to contain positive cases and community spread of the virus, nothing must be taken lightly.

We are reassured by the knowledge that  “full investigation” is being carried out by the Royal Bhutan Police and the Department of Immigration and “those who are complicit [in the act] shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The fact that businesses are increasingly resorting to such reckless acts is indicative of the need to employ harsher measures. Because one individual can put the whole nation in jeopardy, we should leave no room for complacency.

Officials and volunteers along the borders need to be more vigilant. Dereliction of duty cannot be condoned. We must ensure that nobody involved, business entity, individual or official, gets to go scot-free if they are found to have breached the standing protocols.

Understandably the people are worried. The word doing the round is that there could be another lockdown in Phuentsholing. As justified as it is panic could throw us open to unnecessary problems.

What is needed is calm and level-headed approach to the situation. In the meanwhile, full cooperation from the public is critically important.

Let the officials do their job. Only carrying out swift and successful contact tracing will ensure that there is no community spread of the deadly virus.

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