In these difficult times we have been acutely aware of at least one thing: that there can be another lockdown. But as things roll on, we are getting to know that we cared little to prepare for the worse we could face. As the nation experiences the second lockdown, irresponsible and flagrant circulation of rumours is threatening to be the biggest challenge.

Covid-19 is here to stay — there is even the news of mutant virus. All these new developments mean that we need to be a little more careful than we have been so far. Look and listen to science. Unfortunately, we are surrounded by self-proclaimed experts and mindless blabbermouths. For a wonder, they can even be allowed to flourish!

Flu vaccines came and many got the shots. Winter is a season of flu. Many, influenced by uneducated views, resisted the vaccine even when it came with compelling and valid health advisories. The danger, as we saw, was that flu vaccine could be blamed for the eventualities resulting from recklessness growing out of the relaxed attitude that we had begun to allow.

All the while, the true media houses (only a few of them existent now) and the government have been warning about the dangers of complacency. Not to blame is the innocent public. To put it straight, we shot it on our own foot. The biggest challenge facing us today is to prove that the flu vaccine that we made available to the people (not by force but on a voluntary basis) is WHO-certified and that it has no relation whatsoever to Covid-19.

We have always encouraged and will continue to welcome constructive and well-informed public discourse. However, the proliferation and distribution of unfounded claims such as we are having to confront today will have to be dealt with legally because creating fear and public disruption is a crime.

In the latest update, Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo said that at least 21 persons had tested positive to Covid-19, taking the total number of persons infected by the virus since the second lockdown began to 74. But the perspective is more important than numbers. For Bhutan, it is a serious matter because we seem to be now dealing with community transmission of the virus.

The community transmission of the Covid-19 is not a problem because we have robust systems in place that have kept us safe and secure so far. The biggest problem facing us today is the explosion of unfounded claims that could undermine the whole effort to deal with the unrelenting nature of the virus.