The season of festival is upon us.  After Thimphu Dromchoe and Thimphu Tshechu from mid of this month, a series of tshechus and other popular festivals will occur.

We must celebrate our customs, traditions and festivals because of their special significance. Bhutan is what it is because of our rich and unique heritage and traditions. However, in these difficult times, we may do well to keep such celebrations low-key and small.

Although we have not had dangerous surge in cases, thanks largely to sensible interventions and effective management of threats, what we must remember is that we are still very much vulnerable. Covid-19 is not going to go away anytime soon. It will linger on and continue to test our resilience what with new variants and fatigue in many countries that are showing in strong public resistance against protracted lockdowns, hard-wearing measures and immuring protocols.

Publicans and restaurateurs, who have lost business and income for a long time, are understandably eager to get back to something like normality. They have lost employment and income because of continuing restrictions and measures. But then, in the kind of situation we are in today, it is always better to not be reckless.

Many argue that with the entire population almost fully inoculated, restrictions could be eased. What we must remember, however, is that we are not fully protected from the virus just because most of us got the second jab. With cases running at alarming rates in the neighbouring countries and beyond, taking precautions is all the more critical.

Nothing has changed significantly in our battle against the Covid-19. It is still largely upon us to manage the risks that continue to evolve. There will be demands from certain quarters of the society to open up or to loosen the restrictions. Some might even disregard the protocols in place because they got the second jab. In fact, complacency is already showing.

Simply put, the fight is nowhere near over. We have a long way to go. In this respect, we have many gaps to fill. That’s why we should be extra careful with many festivals coming our way where large gatherings can happen. Lyonchhen recently said the government would not lift the protocols despite requests from the people. The reason is, as he explained, if an infected person from a high-risk area entered a lower risk area, the disease would spread exponentially within a day.

That’s true, which is why adhering to health and movement protocols is absolutely necessary. Standing protocols and measures must not be eased or ignored, now more than ever.