No time for slipping vigilance

From zero in mid-March, the number of active Covid-19 cases has increased to 152 as of May 7 as the health ministry announced on Friday evening about detecting 29 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Similarly, the virus is still spreading like wildfire in India as infections increased by more than 300,000 cases for 14 straight days (until Thursday), pushing India’s total Covid-19 cases past 20mn.

Against the increasing number of cases nearby in India and within the country, one thing is for certain that the pandemic is not over yet. While the pandemic has stretched over for more than a year now, it’s here to stay for quite some time, albeit not known for how long, going by reports of the second or even third-generation versions of the variant possibly circulating in India.

The so-called pandemic fatigue among the people and those on the frontlines are understandable given the time and duration that we have spent in fighting the virus so far. However, what has become more important now is to wake up from the slumber of complacency and be more cautious and vigilant than before. We need to seriously augment our efforts given the growing concern occurring from the new variants and given the worsening condition that we see in India.

The heart wrenching scenario in India that we see today is also a reminder to prepare ourselves and push up the necessary preparatory efforts, what if we see a similar situation here. Can we even handle such a situation?

It would be, therefore, totally wrong to live with the misconception that things have returned to normal now after the first nationwide vaccination of Covid-19. We must still remember that our streets, which can be crowded, are still dangerous, and without facemasks, proper hygiene and social distancing, we are more vulnerable now than ever before.

Medical experts in India already claim that the new strain of the virus is more transferrable and 50% more lethal than the first one. This explains the reason for the surge of cases in India.

The time has, therefore, come for us now to be more careful. We cannot expect everything to be done for us. Having to monitor the public is one area from where we can save the time and effort of the government and those on the frontlines. All we have to do is to be a little more responsible now. Even a simple task like avoiding loitering in group and crowding, using facemask, social distancing and paying adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols would go a long way in combatting the virus.

It’s a good development that the government is also reviewing its security protocols for the quarantine facility and urging people to strictly abide by the Covid-19 protocols in the wake of a recent breach in one of the hotels identified as a quarantine facility in Thimphu and breach of the Covid-19 protocols by two doctors. It’s time now that the government should implement them strictly and fill the gaps in the strategies or protocols if there are any.  There can be no excuses for not doing the right thing.