Far from over!

After the lockdown was relaxed starting Thursday, a 48-hour complete lockdown in Paro Tshongdue with immediate effect was announced yesterday morning. Further, another ten-day lockdown from February 6 has been announced for the border town of Phuentsholing.

Thimphu, meanwhile, will be under a lockdown for three weeks this weekend and at least we can expect some official confirmation coming in and whether the lockdown in Thimphu will be lifted or continued before we approach the next week of this month.

This is also because the three-day mass testing for Thimphu ended on January 30 and similar mass testing were completed in other 13 districts of the country as well. The Ministry of Health (MoH) by now should, therefore, have an understanding of the extent of the Covid-19 infection in the country and what should be the way forward.

As we decide on lifting the lockdown, one major concern is the increasing number of positive cases being reported in the country lately.  

The MoH on January 31 announced a high of 206 new cases being detected in the last 24 hours. The ministry then announced having detected 312 new cases in the last 24 hours on February 1, 190 new cases on February 2, and 139 new cases on February 3, and 188 new cases yesterday.

However, one thing for certain, whether in or in absence of a lockdown, is that the times ahead would never be the same until we get rid of the coronavirus completely.

Living in scenarios that really bring uncertainty to what will come next, another thing for certain is that we can never say when there could well be surges of new variants. It could be perhaps after every year or even after every few months.

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned this week that it is too early for countries to either declare victory or stop fighting against the Covid-19.

After Denmark on February 1 became the first EU country to lift all of its domestic Covid-19 curbs despite record numbers of cases of the milder Omicron variant, and with a number of other countries considering similar moves, the WHO Director-General maintained that it is premature for any country to either surrender or to declare victory, and it is vital to keep striving to halt transmission of the virus.

One important message that we can take away from the WHO Director-Generalโ€™s statement is that the war against the Covid-19 is far from over. We have no choice than to keep on fighting, at least for now. And as it has been found in other countries that the vaccines continue to protect against severe illness and the risk to most individuals remains low, our paradigm must perhaps shift now to protecting those vulnerable in the country.