The success that Bhutan has so far had with and in controlling the Covid-19 cases in the country is in danger of being a monumental waste. This must not happen and every agency responsible—from the task force to health officials and de-suups—should prevent this from happening.

If this sounds like a serious statement, it is.

With the arrival of the Covid-19, we are acquainted with many new medical and scientific terms. The problem is that we do not fully understand them still. Many think that because we have had a successful vaccination programme, we have achieved “herd immunity”.

According to WHO, herd immunity, also known as “’population immunity”, is indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity is developed through previous infection.

But what we know is that Covid-19 is a fast-mutating virus. One or two jabs will not be enough. The fact is that new vaccines will have to be discovered to fight new and evolving virus.

Why is this important to know? It is important because Bhutanese people are becoming increasingly complacent.

There is an urgent need to step up monitoring and surveillance system, now more than ever. Are our shops demanding shoppers to scan Druk Trace, for example? Do we now have requirement for physical distancing, particularly in towns? Once ubiquitous, the washing stands are few and far between.

What we must understand is that to fight this unrelenting virus, vaccines are not the ultimate answer—forget “herd immunity”. If there is anything that can do us any good in this long-drawn-out fight, it is in achieving “herd immunity” in the sense that every individual takes his or her responsibility to curb the virus from spreading.

How do we do that?

It is very simple. Wear your mask, wash your hands, and maintain physical distance. There are measures that have worked, not just in Bhutan but everywhere. That’s why adhering to these simple protocols is absolutely necessary.

The problem is that we seem to not regard these measures as very important in our scheme of things. “Heard immunity” is just a temporary protection. Forgetting or omitting the basic health protocols that have so far saved millions of lives across the world will be costly. For Bhutan, all the more.