The country has not seen a single COVID-19 case from the community in more than three months. But with complacency setting in, experts fear that the next lockdown might be around the corner. Health experts around the globe predict a steep rise in COVID cases this winter if people do not adhere to wearing masks, washing hands with soap and avoiding crowds.
Winter is almost here. And winter in the country is associated with annual rituals and several festivals which encourage public gatherings. And this increases the risk of transmission.
“Whether it’s COVID or other respiratory viruses, the transmission is usually in the cold season. Of course, the COVID doesn’t have any season because this is a new virus and people have no immunity. But the transmission is higher in the cold season because that is when the virus thrives, that is when the virus can easily transmit fast,” said Dr Sonam Wangchuk, a Member of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).
The Prime Minister’s Office through its Facebook page recently raised the alarm that another lockdown might happen anytime. According to the post, towns and communities are witnessing larger and frequent gatherings, with many disregarding basic safety protocols like wearing masks.
Dr Sonam Wangchuk said people should be more cautious even if the restrictions are relaxed. He said the world is dealing with a contagious virus, the Delta variant of the coronavirus. And while people are vaccinated, they are still not safe.
“People should not really take it for granted that we are vaccinated, we will not get infected and we will not get transmitted. We have been saying that although you are vaccinated, the transmission will be there. You will have the virus and you will be shedding the virus and passing the virus but vaccination will protect you from severity in hospitalizations. So, I think it’s a bit too early to do away with all the safety protocols,” he added.
With the virus still evolving and many countries struggling with rising cases, the risk of community transmission remains high. The Prime Minister’s Office urged people to avoid unnecessary gatherings and to keep up with the safety protocols as the pandemic continues.
Edited by Sonam