We must get a better grip on new challenges

The dengue season has arrived.

In the southern belt and some eastern parts of the country, the weather’s warmed up. It is becoming hotter by the day. Suspect dengue cases have already started emerging from hospitals in Nganglam and Panbang.

Given the right conditions this vector-borne disease has the potential to spread very quickly. Last year, 5,400 people tested dengue positive and the disease claimed six lives.

Phuentsholing, which saw the first and the highest dengue cases in the country last year, is already on its toes. Others must follow suit. Vector control and source reductions are being carried out. Between March 18 and 24, Vector-borne Disease Control Programme team has inspected 5,766 containers (1,538 wet and 700 dry), 116 buildings, and 302 units and premises in Phuentsholing.

The team has spotted at least 15 potential sites where the vectors can proliferate. The surveillance report has recommended thromde and drungkhag offices to impose strict cleanliness and hygiene rules. In such cases, regular inspection should be instituted and penalties imposed on those who do not comply with the rules.

These are good measures because prevention is always better than cure. This is more relevant today when we are already faced with the dangers of Covid-19. Both the diseases can spread like wildfire and consequence can be fatal.

Advocacy and awareness programmes are good but often they do not work in our society. If stricter and harsher measures are required, authorities must not hesitate to shell out their worse.

Covid-19 is still a major threat and could remain so for sometime. We have only a limited number of health professionals. Having to deal with two dangerous and fast-spreading diseases at the same time can put a serious strain on our resources. That means our chances to bungle increases.

Phuentsholing Thrompon put it bluntly: “We are all already tackling Covid-19 and a dengue outbreak at this time can cripple us.” But that is indeed the very risk facing the country today.

Violation of regulations is already a big problem as we fight Covid-19. People continue to ignore government notifications that restrict international border crossing. In an incident that is worrying and is of serious concern to the nation, a 31-year-old man recently made off from a quarantine centre in Samtse. He is still at large.

At a time when we have no option but to maintain social distancing and hygiene at all costs, such irresponsibility on the part of the public should not go unpunished because what they are doing is nothing less than treasonous.

Simply put, we cannot face two wars at the same time. The renegades must be brought before the law.  

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