Let’s not let our guard down!

It appears that complacency and indifference have got the better of us that many of us today have no regard for whatever safety measures the government has been urging the public to follow following the first confirmed COVID-19 case in March this year.

Since the government adopted the ‘Phase 1-transition to a new normal’ from July 1 against the COVID-19 pandemic, many seem to feel and act as if normalcy has resumed. Going by what is being reported; people have become more lax and are not serious with safety measures such as maintaining physical distancing, using facemasks and scanning the Druk Trace app.

At the Centenary Farmers’ Market, Desuups and other monitoring personnel have to personally ensure that those who enter wear a facemask and scan the QR code of the Druk Trace app.  They reported that people don’t pay attention and adhere to the safety measures despite having been informed many times.

Such developments may have been because of how the country has been able to manage the COVID-19 pandemic so far. Since the first confirmed case was detected on March 5 this year, we have now 80 cases. This number is negligible compared to the numbers in thousands and more that are being reported from other countries nearby and worldwide. Additionally, we are fortunate that there is no community transmission and not even a single death from the virus.

However, going by the words of Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, we cannot be complacent and relaxed. According to the minister, community or local transmission of the Covid-19 pandemic is inevitable and it is only a matter of when and how.      

The minister reasoned that the risk was very high, especially in the border town and communities, with positive cases across the border growing at an alarming rate of over 300% daily.   

However, the minister added that even if there was a community transmission it could be contained effectively, if people sincerely practiced preventive measures, such as hand washing and maintaining good hygiene, avoiding unnecessary travels and wearing masks in the public areas.

And true to the health minister’s words, all that the health ministry and the government can do is request people to follow the advisories.

But how much do we pay heed to these advisories? We must understand that this is not the sole battle of the ministry or the government alone.  The least we can do is be responsible on our part too. It’s only when every one of us is responsible and we take this responsibility seriously, we can break the chain of transmission of this virus.

Months may have been gone by now since the first COVID-19 case, but we must understand that the battle against the pandemic is far from over until we have a definite medical solution at sight. Or the worst is yet to come. A lot of time, effort, sacrifices and revenue have gone to fight against this pandemic over the last few months. We cannot let all these go in vain. It’s just not the time to let our guard down!