Hold the Line- Opinion

I   am all for holding the government of the day accountable, be it on the slip ups leading to the first, second and the third national lockdowns or other lapses like the recent death of the 34-year-old kidney patient in a hotel.

We at The Bhutanese have pursued these stories in depth, asked tough questions from the very beginning and held the government accountable on many other fronts since the pandemic started.

The government cannot escape accountability, and it is responsible for every little thing on the ground as it is the very system and has power over the people in the system.

However, what I am not in favour of is coming up with very unscientific and dangerous suggestions like ‘living with the virus,’ or just doing away with lockdowns and other restrictions.

I know that there are high prices to pay for a lockdown in terms of loss of income, loss of freedom, mental health etc, but the alternative of letting the virus sweep through our small population is far worse.

I have studied in India and worked there for a couple of years as a journalist too, and during the delta wave of last year I did not know of anyone there who had not lost someone from their family to the virus. I am talking about the real numbers on the ground which is far in excess of the official death counts there.

We are told that Omicron is ‘mild’ this time by some, but this is misleading as it maybe milder than Delta, but it is not mild by itself and it definitely is not the common flu.

From our own experience, we have had two deaths so far in a short span and are seeing large numbers infected, including children. There are also other patients under intensive care.

 Omicron also causes long COVID. During the second lockdown I interviewed 7 recovered COVID patients and out of them 5 still suffered from long COVID with some still suffering even a year after recovery.

The affects were the sense of smell and taste not being the same, brain fog, weaker memory, anxiety and difficulty breathing and fatigue.

There is still so much we don’t know about the virus to let it take a run through our population. We very well could be disabling an entire future generation in the form of our youth and children -a sizeable number of whom are mainly unvaccinated.

I am also not ready to lose any family member to a virus that can be stopped with the right measures.

Yes, agreed that we are all suffering in some way due to the lockdowns, but also do remember that there is no other country in the world where so much has been done for the people with two years’ loan deferral, loan interest paid by His Majesty, unemployment Kidu paid by His Majesty and various other incentives.

Yes, we have all suffered locked up in our homes, but our King is on the frontlines risking his very life for our well being and spending time away from his two young sons.

Our health staff and frontliners are spending time away from their families and risk contracting COVID everyday for our sake.

I know our collective woes are only mounting, but the worst time to give up is when the battle is at its thickest.

We have to hold the line against an invisible enemy that has the potential to do great harm, and by its very nature goes after our most vulnerable -be it a young child or an old parent at home.

This situation will not last forever, and I see things improving especially after we can vaccinate our children and boost the entire population with booster doses.

Until then, we should hold the line, not admit defeat and keep a deadly enemy out of our homes.

By Tenzing Lamsang

The writer is the Editor of the paper

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