The message of exigency has not changed. In fact, the threat of Covid-19 is coming closer to our homes. In circumstances such as these, irrational fear will not do us any good. Reasonable precaution and care will. That’s been the vital message since the first day of Covid-19 outbreak.

The number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country has been increasing by the day. It might appear as though we were ill-prepared to face the onslaught of the virus. But no nation, even the technologically and economically far more advanced, was as fully prepared as Bhutan has been since the outbreak of the deadly virus.

When suddenly all else seems to come crumbling down, we are a confident and forward-looking nation. We still have the strongest tracing and quarantine systems—so the detection of more cases every day. We were not caught off guard. But tracing and quarantine systems alone cannot hold the virus at bay. Now that we are faced with an increasing number of positives cases and the threat of widespread local transmission, how we bolster our safety besides and behind these systems will matter all the more.

As a country that shares porous borders with India where the positives cases and transmission rate is overwhelming, and growing, we have been acutely aware of our vulnerabilities. In the event we become complacent and let the pandemic ride, the burden on our health system, challenged as it is already by resource and manpower shortage, will be enormous.  Worse, vaccines aren’t coming anytime soon and so much is yet to be understood about the disease and how it spreads.

There is every reason to believe that local transmission of Covid-19, which we worked so hard to ward off, happened due to carelessness on the part of a few individuals who did not abide by the guidelines and protocols set by the health ministry. There were failures from the many quarters, yes, but what is important is to not sink in the futile engagement of pointing fingers at each other. There is so much yet we can achieve together.

A little cooperation from the people is all it takes to secure our country and people from threats and adversaries. It is a rare blessing that only the people of Bhutan can enjoy in such times when the government is providing all the essential facilities at the doorstep of every household. And there is Royal Kidu for the deserving. There is no shortage of food items and access has been made easy so that people can prevent themselves from getting exposed to the virus.

Lockdown is temporary, only until tracing is completed. What is critically important is to prevent the virus from spreading further. And this will require commitment from each and every citizen of this nation. Stay in and respect the lockdown rules. Otherwise, for a small nation like ours, consequences will be consequential.