There had been no Covid-19 positive cases reported from communities in the last 10 days from Phuentsholing and Samtse boosting confidence in our long drawn fight against the pandemic. Some are still skeptical of the situation in the south.  But life in the rest of the country has returned to normal. There are no restrictions except for having to wear face masks in public places and businesses closing at 9pm, at least officially.

We are gathering to celebrate weddings and promotions, meeting in large numbers for seminars and workshops and many other activities. As some construction see through the pandemic, we see new buildings being consecrated, archery and other games and tournaments are being organised. All seems normal as of now.

It is, indeed, an indication of the success of our fight to keep the virus, especially the Delta variant that is highly infectious, at bay. A lot of sacrifices had been made. There are still hundreds, if not thousands of frontline workers along the border still keeping vigil to ensure the safety of the rest of us. Life has to go on and even with a lot of logistic issues, trade and commerce are happening. We are even importing tobacco besides essentials.

However, it is important to remind ourselves of not celebrating too early. The world had seen the consequences of declaring victory too soon. The risk is still there. Even as we tend to believe the virus is gone for good, especially with the two rounds of vaccination, the situation is getting bad in areas that border us. 

Experts are warning of an imminent third wave towards the end of this month in neighbouring India. Looking around, the writing is on the wall.  Covid-19 cases are suddenly surging in the neighbouring states. Yesterday, the Indian state of Sikkim reported 137 new cases, in Arunachal Pradesh, there were 94 new cases and Assam reported 700 new cases, according to local media outlets in the states. These are only the officially reported cases. Local media are skeptical of the figures, meaning they expect the numbers to be higher than what is reported.

A big cause of concern is how the North Eastern Indian states have suddenly become vulnerable to imported cases adding to the many they are already reporting. UN experts have already warned how Myanmar could become the “super spreader state” because of the double trouble it is going through – from the political turmoil and the fast-spreading  Covid-19 Delta virus. 

Myanmar shares a long and porous border with North East India. There are refugees pouring into the North East because of the military coup and the pandemic risking the Indian north eastern states. On Monday, Myanmar recorded 2,186 cases although vaccination programmes have stepped up.  

We should be more concerned with the developments in the neighbouring India states because of our proximity and the open borders. Our memories are short. We cannot forget how one man who contracted the disease while on a visit to a neighbouring Indian town resulted in numerous positive cases and lockdowns.