Don’t abandon caution

The government has been under tremendous pressure to open relaxations, and so far it has been ahead of schedule doing away with more and more restrictions by the day.

This is as cases start shooting up, testing is only for the symptomatic, red homes are lifted and the testing and quarantine for domestic travel is done away with.

As long as these decisions are informed by science and evidence it is okay, but we are headed for trouble if these decisions are being made with political considerations, especially with the Opposition party ramping up the pressure.

The government should reconsider some of its decisions in the rush to open up in phase two.

The first is that testing should be made available to people who want to get tested, especially if they feel they have been exposed. A simple measure like will help control the spread of the virus.

While Bhutan has had low deaths so far the decision to change the definition of the deaths from the CDC and regional WHOs to that of the WHO should be relooked at. COVID-19 affects the body in a multitude of ways and pinning it down to only three conditions is not accurate.

Even at this stage in the pandemic there is still no adequate focus on ventilation, as this is the most effective way to either prevent infection or lower its severity.

A big challenge coming up will be the reopening of schools. Ideally, the government should have not done away with the testing and domestic home quarantine for high risk area travelers until the schools opened.

The sudden lifting of this will mean that Omicron will spread even wider and faster than it already is, and when schools open we stand the danger of facing a massive surge.

So far, our mass vaccination programs and booster shots have held up as there is limited severe cases or deaths, but we should also keep carrying out other interventions.

The biggest worry now is for those under five  who are not vaccinated especially as the infection rate among them is starting to go up. As the government opens up, it should remember to protect this vulnerable group and prepare well to ensure we can get the vaccines for them early whenever they are approved.  For the 5 to 11 a second dose should be followed by a booster dose to improve the efficacy.

Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
Benjamin Franklin

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