Life has returned to what it was like before the nationwide lockdown in early August. Offices, businesses, schools (some classes), sporting facilities and many others have opened. Gatherings, although discouraged or disallowed, are happening, meetings, even in big groups are conducted some even blatantly flouting Covid-19 protocols. In short, we have suddenly forgotten that the pandemic is not over.

Judging by what is happening in the capital city, crowding whether at banks, hospitals and all other public places, we have become complacent. Wearing masks has picked up, especially at public spaces, but other measures put in to tackle the pandemic like the Druk Trace application or maintaining physical distance has lost seriousness since the lockdown was eased. Not many use the tracing app unless a De-Suup or a security guard insists.

Perhaps we are distracted by other issues that have dominated discussion recently. Is it because the frequency of detecting positive cases has slowed down? Or could it be because there is no report of news cases except in Phuentsholing and no one had succumbed to the virus?

We cannot lose the focus. We are still as vulnerable as we were. The complacency is setting in even as His Majesty The King and His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo are touring the vulnerable parts of the country. It seems, from our letting the guards down, only Their Majesties the Kings, the health officials and the front liners are the ones concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic. Even as we write this, Their Majesties have just returned from a tour of the entire southern dzongkhags and have now entered facility quarantine for a week.

We crossed the 300 mark last week. Although the recovery rate is good and we have only 18 active positive cases of the 309 detected, it is no reason to let our guards down.

Many countries that were convinced about bringing the virus under control are scrambling frantically to avoid a second national lockdown, as a second wave of cases hit them hard. The situation in neighbouring India, unfortunately, is not good. Cases in India are on the rise with more than seven million cases reported. And we have witnessed how vulnerable we are if we slip off in our efforts to contain the virus.

More than anything, we have experienced how a lockdown can cripple a country. All this while, we had been saying we are learning from the first lockdown. The best lesson during pandemic times is not repeating the mistakes.

Life has to come to normal. People will have to work, businesses will have to open and the government will have to return to governance. We are just taking a few baby steps towards recovery. One big mistake and we will be back to square one. The mistake would be not being mindful that we are still as vulnerable as in August.