The New Normal

Right now, Bhutan is like a high diver perched at the highest dive board above the swimming pool nervously looking down.

If we dive at the right time and with proper preparation, calculation, balance and technique then we will have dived successfully into phase two of our fight against COVID-19.

However, if we have not done our homework or are not prepared to make adjustments for what is coming or there is a nasty wind from nowhere then the dive could go very wrong.

Bhutan is on the top list of a very small group of countries in the world who escaped the worst of the pandemic over the last two years under the leadership of His Majesty The King.

Going by the death rates per million around the world, Bhutan, at the least, saved hundreds of lives and on the higher end of the scale would have saved thousands of lives.

Apart from preventing many deaths, we also avoided the massive sickness that would have come with it.

It is a fact that most of the Bhutanese who were infected in the country were vaccinated and this ensured that they avoided the worse of the health impacts.

On the other hand, if Bhutan had not taken the various measures from sealing our borders to instituting quarantine and lockdowns then apart from massive waves of deaths and sickness we would be having far more stringent lockdowns to control deaths and this would have hit the economy even harder.

We would have got the worst of both worlds in terms of deaths and a pandemic impacted economy.

So we have created a very strong foundation to step into Phase two, where more responsibility is being passed on to citizens, most of whom want the relaxations.

In some aspects, phase two is even more trickier than phase one as there is an element of uncertainty.

One major positive is that the government and health machinery under the leadership and advice of His Majesty is working to cover all ends and be prepared for any eventuality.

People must understand that Bhutan is not giving up its fight against COVID-19, and we are not ‘living with the virus,’ but we are trying to head back to normalcy on our own terms and not on the terms of the virus.

This is where a high rate of vaccination, COVID beds and other preparations come into play.

Phase 1 was a resounding success due to public cooperation and awareness, and it is required even more in Phase 2.

The public must work with the government to ensure that the vulnerable are protected and this transition is successful.

“Thorough preparation makes its own luck.” Joe Poyer.

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