With the country moving into a new phase of Covid-19 management strategy and everyone preparing mentally to be infected with the virus one day or the other, many were concerned about the vulnerable population, especially those with comorbidities, elderly citizens, destitutes and the disabled.

His Majesty The King has once again come to the rescue of people, as always, by addressing the common concern by establishing the reverse isolation facilities in all 20 dzongkhags.

With community cases spiralling, this has become the need of the hour. Those in need can now have a safe place to isolate themselves with care guaranteed.

Reverse isolation could reduce morbidity and mortality. It could protect precious lives as the facilities will be equipped with dedicated health professionals and personal caregivers. It will also be connected to relevant health facilities to ensure the wellbeing of the people availing the service. It will also prioritise the overall health of those in need with medical care and supplements.

The health ministry had already called for registration of the vulnerable population to update their medical conditions under the Bhutan vaccine system and is encouraging  to undergo reverse isolation if infected.

Recognising the fact that most Bhutanese have difficulty decoding the health notifications and many in need of the service might not be educated enough to register, it is important that officials not only explain reverse isolation in the simplest terms, but also facilitate registration for everyone.

While it will mainly be the health, dzongkhag and local government officials’ responsibility to ensure every Bhutanese in need of the reverse isolation service benefit from it, all of us could play a role by identifying the needy people and informing officials or helping them register.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc, but it also brought the best in us. It helped us share responsibilities. Bhutanese came together to help each other with kindness and compassion. Let us do it one more time so that the vulnerable group is protected.

The only possible challenge of implementing the reverse isolation strategy would be in convincing the rural folks that availing the service is for their good.

We have been known for taking care of our ageing population. This makes us different from many societies.  Sending aged parents or vulnerable to reverse isolation facilities could be misunderstood as shying away from responsibilities in the villages.

Authorities should take extra effort to explain His Majesty The King’s noble initiative to the common people. Lives will be protected if people understand the Royal initiatives.