Stringent enforcement of social distancing

by Gazi Mizanur Rahman | Published: 00:00, Jun 11,2020

 
 

The world has now become so connected that we can reach things existing in one part of the world from another in a short time however distant the place may be. Opportunities of technology, side by side economic, cultural, and religious ties have made this possible. In addition, what people feel now is being instantly shared on social media. The COVID-19 pandemic is so pervasive that it has affected each and everybody living on the earth and has provided a platform for discussion.

Based on information coming up on the web sites of international platforms, social media and other available online sources, we can easily appraise our own situation regarding the attack of the novel coronavirus, now a common enemy of mankind all over. However big our population and however small may our health facilities be, Bangladesh posed well just a couple of weeks ago. But things are worsening now each day. Bangladesh has already entered the group of 20 countries worst affected by the novel coronavirus. Our incapacity to maintain the stance of seriousness shown in initial stages invited a bleak situation in the long run. Apparel workers’ movement between Dhaka and their respective home towns or village homes before and after the initial shutdown of factories for some days and, later on, before and after Eid holidays appears to have brought about a disastrous consequence. The results are a sporadic increase of infection in recent days.

Next comes patient management in hospitals. Everyday, there are reports in newspapers showing the helpless condition of non-COVID-19 patients who are running from one hospital to another for the treatment of serious ailments that need immediate intervention. Government directives and warnings fell flat on authorities of hospitals. When someone goes to an authorised hospital for check-up, whether in case of COVID-19-positive or -negative, the patient has to move heaven and earth because of long queues for tests. Ventilator facility in all hospitals vis-a-vis affected citizens are of such a ratio that it is hard for ordinary people to access that facility. Even moneyed people do not think themselves secure in terms of treatment access as nothing is guaranteed here; everything depends on chances and luck.

As far as virology and epidemiology insights go, we see a light at the end of the tunnel. If you do not move, the virus cannot move and the tenure of intervention may be as short as 15 days. In view of this, we can say that if a curfew-like shutdown or lockdown for 15 days at a time all over the country at any stage of the pandemic could be enforced, checks are done on who are infected with the disease and who are not, it can bring about good results to the whole community. Afterwards, allowing non-affected people to move about with restrictions and confining the affected ones to houses and hospitals could be the only way to safeguard people. But our people have fared badly in the past with respect to social distancing. If you want them to behave prudently, you must compel them through a strict enforcement of law overseen by highly dedicated and disciplined law enforcement authorities.

 

Gazi Mizanur Rahman, a former civil servant, is a writer.

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