Earlier this month, a video appeared on the BBS TV of the busy 1010 Help Desk in Thimphu taking calls and helping people with their questions.
In the video, the 1010 Help Desk revealed that it was receiving about 10,000 calls per day at the time. It was also astonishing that on the second day of the recent lockdown, the 1010 Help Desk received more than 79,000 calls, so even the staff stationed there could not handle all the calls. The reason given was that people were panicking and did not know what to do.
It is obvious that this was not the first lockdown in the country. The fight against Covid-19 has been going on for two years now, and there have been many lockdowns in the past. It is surprising that people still did not know what to do when the latest lockdown was imposed.
Given past lockdowns and the lessons learned, people should know by now what to do when a lockdown is imposed. As a result, the 1010 Help Desk should no longer receive as many calls with questions.
This situation will continue in the future with any lockdown unless people are properly informed in a timely manner. If people did not know what to do and made 79,000 calls on the second day of the lockdown, this also explains that they were not adequately informed by the government or concerned agencies about what to do. If people knew what to do and how to proceed, they would not have made these many calls to the 1010 Help Desk.
Considering past lockdowns, our relevant authorities should also know by now that issues related to stranded people are the most common issue that relevant authorities face during lockdowns. This time was no different.
The problems associated with stranded people could be avoided to a large extent if only they were properly and sufficiently informed about what they should do. The lack of information explains the constant calls to the 1010 Help Desk. The relevant authorities should therefore have the responsibility to explain the procedures and requirements for stranded people and facilitate transportation accordingly.
The fact that people still don’t know what to do despite timely and adequate information is also because instructions from the relevant government agencies often do not match the implementation on the ground. It appears as if there is simply no communication and coordination between those giving the directives and those implementing those on the ground. It was announced recently that those taking a day trip to Thimphu from nearby districts are not required to present RT-PCR test results; however, many were asked to show an e-pass with a RT-PCR result (valid for three days) upon their return.
This also explains why people still don’t know what to do.