Ignoring health rules ups Covid-19 infection rates

Experts have made various predictions about coronavirus infection in Bangladesh at several times. According to the latest forecast, coronavirus infection will decrease from June, and will be fully under control in July. But in reality, the deadly virus has been spread abruptly proving all the predictions wrong.

Three-and-a-half months after the first detection, there are no signs of decreasing the coronavirus infection. The government has also been taking different approaches including general holidays, which were canceled a few days ago.

According to experts, people do not follow any kind of social distance or hygiene. On the other hand, the health department and the concerned department are not able to take the right decision at the right time and implement it. Sample test capacity is much less in Bangladesh. The contact tracing, quarantine is not being implemented properly. As a result the infection rate is not decreasing.

According to public health experts’ analysis, if the situation is very bad, a maximum of 65,000 people could be infected in a single day and one-fifth of it may need to be hospitalized. If this happens, then 12 to 13 thousand people may have to be hospitalized.

However, there are only 1200 ICUs including public and private hospital across the country. So, in this situation most of the people will not get proper treatment. In such a situation, health experts have urged everyone to consciously follow social distance and hygiene rules.

Professor Nazrul Islam, former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told Bangladesh Post “The government has already taken several steps. But there were opportunities to take more effective action. Infection is not decreasing in the country mainly due to two reasons.

 The authorities did not take the right decision at the right time and could not implement the policy properly to halt the spread of coronavirus. At the same time people are not aware enough and hardly follow the health guidelines.

People do not maintain social distancing. Many are not wearing masks. Some are wearing substandard masks. In such a situation, ordinary people should follow the rules of hygiene and maintain social distance. At the same time the government needs to increase sample testing and isolation capacity. Otherwise the situation will not improve suddenly.”

“We had many opportunities. But it’s too late to take proper action. Some of these steps were also wrong. For example, the quarantine system in Ashkona for expatriates was cancelled. And then they were sent to home quarantine, which was a big mistake. On the other hand, the garment workers came to Dhaka, it was also not a good decesion. It increased the risk of infection”, he said.

The government is now implementing red zone based lockdown in many areas. After Rajabazar, Cox’s Bazar and Gazipur, general holidays have been declared in 15 more districts. Certain areas of these districts are under lockdown.

However, public health experts are seeing faults in the red zone process. They think that lockdown over small areas will not give the desired result.

Nazrul Islam said “Lockdown is not just an announcement. We have to increase our capability. Isolation centers should be set up in or around the area where the lockdown will take place, with adequate sample testing arrangements. Otherwise these lockdowns will not be effective.”

“Law enforcers patrol on the main roads. But they do not enter in other areas. Many poor people don’t get food properly. We could not feed them. If we had gone to war then we would not be here today. We have made many mistakes from the beginning. It is a big mistake to let people go home during Eid-ul-Fitr. The virus has already spread across the country. But if we do the right work properly, then there is still the opportunity to control the virus,” he added.

According to media reports, earlier a projection was submitted to the DGHS, where it was said that the corona situation will be normalized in the early of July.

In an interview with the BBC at the time, Be-Nazir Ahmed, a former director of the health department’s disease control branch, said that coronavirus infections would begin to decline by the end of May.

Be-Nazir Ahmed said “Whether we say projection or modeling, we have some preconditions. In that case, if those preconditions are not met, then it won’t be happened.”

“We didn’t have a good quarantine, isolation and lockdown. As a result, the idea of reducing infection couldn’t be materialised.”
After the first 100,000 patients were identified in the United States in 70 days, it has reached the second lakh in just five days. In Brazil, the first lakh was identified in 70 days, the second lakh in 11 days. In India, it takes only 15 days to reach the second lakh after identifying the first lakh in 111 days.

Experts think that those who want to test themselves in Bangladesh are basically coming under the test. To get the best results, samples need to be tested widely.

The main component of lockdown is identification of patients and send them to isolation. Besides, identification of contact person with the infected people and quarantine them. These are the two main functions.