After a long period of lull, the time has come for hard thinking and swift action.

Covid-19 threats are still around. In fact, in some countries, the cases are rising. New variants of the virus are making preparedness difficult for most health systems around the world.

In Bhutan, the general feeling is the same. Covid-19 is gone many seem to think. However, according to health reports, positive cases are on the rise.

As winter approaches, we may be in for a much more difficult position to deal with the virus that seems to proliferate in such right conditions.

The time has come to restructure and tighten the health protocols that kept us largely safe when the virus was running riot.

In the neighbouring countries and the world beyond, Covid-19 continues to overwhelm people, governments and their health sectors. Our nearest neighbour, India, has been grappling with a sudden rise in the number of positive cases.

What science tells us is that viruses can retreat and revive, which means if we do not take necessary precautions, we can be infected again. Plain and simple.

Some scientists have gone on record to say that the current wave could be as devastating as the last one we experienced. Even science is in a projective mode. While some may take it lightly by saying that the whole new development needs concrete study, we may be making ourselves more vulnerable to Covid-19.

What can not be argued is that we become easily complacent when case numbers drop. In many places in Bhutan, including Thimphu where population density is very high, simple and effective protocols such as wearing face masks and the requirement to wash hands have disappeared altogether.

Information, education and communication are still very important. Covid-19 is here to stay and terrorise us for some time.

What the health sector has done so far deserves praise, but we need to do more. We are just beginning to walk out of the shadow of the virus and there are a lot of things that we need to fix.

So long after the advent of the deadly virus, understanding the signs and symptoms of the condition is critically important. It’s all about being careful.

As we earnestly consider re-opening, there are questions to ask: Are we doing enough to protect ourselves from this deadly virus? As a nation, we can not cripple ourselves anymore.

Sensible restrictions and meaningful requirements still are very much relevant. Make it stronger.