The Royal Government of Bhutan has recently announced that the ongoing lockdown could be lifted after the New Year and the Nginlo that is coming up tomorrow and day after. I should be relieved – but I am not. A sense of unease overwhelms me. I fear that we may be opening up too soon, too hastily. We have never seen such double-digit cases in the past. In the last 10 days, we have been averaging 20.9 new cases a day. This is very worrisome – something has triggered this surge in new cases – we need to understand what caused it. Even if we cannot yet understand the reason for the surge, we can allow ourselves to relax – only once we see a drop in new cases. Or, at least we have been able to undertake mass testing in all the Dzongkhags. Look at the following figure:
Record of recent COVID-19 cases
His Majesty the King had personally subjected himself to two quarantine isolations. He has given out Kabneys and Patangs to a number of people – to recognize their achievement in their efforts towards containment of the epidemic. He has awarded medals of valor and service to organizations at the forefront of our fight against the pandemic. After all that, it would be a real pity if we allow ourselves to be impatient and let go before time, and before making sure that we are doing the right thing.
I have always said through a number of past posts on this Blog that there is no escape for us – that we too must face the St. Martinma’s Day, eventually. That day is here – and we have seen that the Bhutanese people were ready, and prepared to face it. If that is true, then let us be prepared to face the lockdown for few more days – until we are cock sure that we have been successful in breaking the chain of transmission.
Let us encourage the King and the Government to extend the lockdown for few more days – until the numbers are under control and until we can complete mass testing across all the twenty Dzongkhags.