Mask up and ventilate

The Health Minister said that according to technical experts the lockdown which started due to the Gelephu lady case had come at the right time as there would have been a lot of spread if it even came a week later.

Bhutan was also fortunate to discover most of its community transmission in limited clusters showing limited transmission.

In other words, Bhutan is lucky to come away unscathed in this round one with COVID-19.

However, this virus has outsmarted even the richest and most tech savvy countries with health systems far better than ours.

In the case of Bhutan, our only resources in the fight has been good leadership under His Majesty, a health system that has risen to the occasion and ordinary Bhutanese going out of their way to help in this fight.

The fight from here on is only going to get tougher and trickier and so now every Bhutanese has to pitch in.

The best thing that we can do is to wear facemasks including cloth masks in all settings to cut down the transmission of the virus, ventilate common enclosed spaces well and practice social distancing like our lives depend on it.

 An important tool for the government to contact trace and prevent additional transmission in the event of an outbreak is data and so ordinary citizens should use Druk Trace App at all locations and also register themselves before travelling.

Despite instructions, the unlocking saw people coming out in groups and some even without facemasks who could very well be to blame if we go into another lockdown.

As the health minister said, lockdowns extract enormous economic costs on everybody and the danger is that repeated lockdowns can lead to people ignoring them for livelihood reasons.

With the 21-day lockdown the government must have come under tremendous pressure to not do future lockdowns or open up things even prematurely, but here sound medical and technical advice based on the nature of the virus should take precedence.

Be careful not to compromise what you want most for what you want now.

Zig Ziglar

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