The risk is still around

Our rich traditional wisdom had been instrumental in guiding us in making decisions. A simple, yet powerful wisdom is the old saying that we should ready the canals before the water comes and take preventive measures before the disease sets in.

Quite often, we tend to forget practising it even if we use it in our daily conversation. His Majesty The King reminded us again and drew our attention to the threat of the second wave of the novel coronavirus. On the command of His Majesty The King, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering warned the people of the risk of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken many countries by surprise.

Winter is here and according to experts, the cold season provides the perfect condition for the coronavirus to spread. The conditions in winter like closed doors, poor ventilation, perhaps to prevent heat from escaping, are ripe conditions for the virus to spread. There are studies that say that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 favours cold, dry conditions, particularly out of direct sunlight. Above all, one big factor is our behaviour.

It is winter in Bhutan too. More than that we are letting the guards down. With only a few new cases reported either from containment areas or quarantine facilities, we are feeling that we have gotten over the pandemic. Physical distancing has taken a back seat, the gatherings are big and simple preventive measures are forgotten.

Are we safe? No, if we start letting our guards down and considering what is happening around. The second wave can spread as fast as the first one. We have seen that in Europe. Even as we write this, Germany and England announced a lockdown. Neighbouring India is also recording increasing cases. The concern in India is that with the festival season around, containing the spread of the virus will be a problem.

There are preventive measures in place. We have closed our borders, travel is restricted and those returning home from abroad are quarantined. The problem is we can never understand this disease. The best bet still is being cautious and not complacent. And the best proven measure is to practise public health measures such as hand washing, wearing face masks, and practicing physical distancing effectively.

In countries that are seeing a surge in new cases, people are protesting against measures like lockdown, even if it is a light lockdown. Lockdown causes inconveniences and robs people of livelihood. We have experienced that too. The difference is that we do not challenge or go against government measures. We experienced a lockdown. We cooperated to make it successful in containing the spread of the virus. From the experience, nobody wants a second lockdown.

Only we can prevent another lockdown. And we can do it by following the simple, inexpensive and effective measures.

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