As complacency sets in Health Minister says people should worry since everybody is at risk from COVID-19

The fear of COVID-19 kept people away from the hospitals and town areas when the first case was reported in the country. But as the fear wore off, people started to crowd the hospitals and the towns as usual.

There are many people who are near paranoid about the fear of contracting COVID-19 there is an increasingly larger group not worried about COVID-19 as is visible from more crowded traffic and shops.

Health Minister Dechen Wangmo said people should be worried because of two reasons, first, nobody knows the novel coronavirus well globally, as there is more about what one doesn’t know about this virus than what one knows about this virus.

“We are saying there is no local transmission now, but are we 100 percent confident? We don’t know. It could be there, it could be somewhere but we don’t know,” said the Health Minister, and added that rather than panicking and being paranoid, every one should be worried.

For now there is no local transmission but tomorrow, what happens to this virus, no one knows, she said.

Lyonpo said initially everyone focused on fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and today, the symptoms have changed. 40 percent of the symptom is people not being able to smell, and a month ago this symptom was not there.

She said precautions must be taken at an individual level, and the thinking must be that one could be a carrier. Personal responsibility, such as hand washing, cough etiquette, limiting visits to the elderly people, must be taken by everybody. Together the virus could be stopped from spreading in the country, Lyonpo added.

Lyonpo said everybody must refrain from visiting the hospitals and towns in crowds.

From the day 1, the ministry has been requesting people to avoid visiting the hospital unless it is necessary.

“If one woman is delivering, the whole family is there, and if someone is sick in the cabin, the whole family visits. It has been the same in the past and it is still going on. Many hospitals streamlined this so that they don’t have crowds, as it is like an unnecessary exposure to risks. It is not only about COVID-19 but there are also other diseases in the hospital,” said the Health Minister.

The ministry assured that the health services will continue and people who need health care will be taken care of. Certain physical measures have to be taken so that there is a physical barrier, both in terms of infrastructure and human resources, while dealing with patients.

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