With a large outbreak in Thimphu and Paro it is increasingly becoming clearer by the day that coordination issues and complacency on the ground contributed to the virus spreading in the two Dzongkhags.
These twin qualities have long vexed the Bhutanese bureaucracy and system, and this time it reared its ugly head again.
Coordination was an issue as there were too many different authorities dealing with the reception, transportation and the quarantine management of passengers coming in via air from Paro and these agencies were not talking enough to each other.
With our agencies being notorious for coordination issues a gap or no man’s land opened up in between them and then the virus got through.
If there had been good coordination, then someone would have realized that nobody is really looking into if the drivers driving these potentially infectious patients are staying in the containment facility or not or if these even existed.
A positive bus driver skipping the containment facility contributed to such a large spread.
Complacency crept in when there were fewer cases coming through Paro and as time lapsed a false sense of confidence and laxity built up.
Enter the most infectious flight ever on 27th November with a large number of positive patients and then things started unravelling from there.
His Majesty has long warned the government about coordination issues among government agencies going back to many National Day addresses.
Bhutanese agencies and even officials have the knack of not being on the same page with each organization heading in its own direction dictated by its own narrow organizational interest or the preferences of the head there.
His Majesty has also cautioned several times against being complacent especially for a small country in between two large neighbors.
This is because complacency and a lack of professionalism and thoroughness in our tasks is often our undoing as quality suffers.
His Majesty traveled extensively along our southern borders and secured it so well against COVID-19 to the point that Samtse is safer than Paro today.
In the meantime, our large and enormous officialdom backed by all manner of resources and manpower only had to keep an eye on the Paro arrivals which it failed to do and for which we are now paying a price.
Finally, we ordinary Bhutanese must take a large share of the blame jumping into mass gatherings and archery matches without facemasks and social distancing, despite reminders, thinking that the worst is over when it was yet to come.
I will not allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure. – Quote by Og Mandino
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