Though health experts are repeatedly warning of a possible rise in coronavirus infection in the country during the upcoming winter, most people seem to be careless about maintaining social distancing and hygiene rules.
“If people remain careless and don't follow the preventive measures, then the country may be badly affected. The coronavirus infection may happen on a large scale if its second wave comes,” virologist Dr Nazrul Islam, member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told the Daily Sun.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a function on Sunday said, “Winter is coming. The situation may deteriorate to some extent. But we’ve to take preparation from right now.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, secretary of the Health Services Division under the Health and Family Welfare Ministry Md Abdul Mannan said, “We are afraid of this [possible second wave of coronavirus infection]. We are also working to face the situation.”
The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 in a meeting held on Sunday observed that there is risk of reinfection in the country as the second phase of coronavirus infection is being seen in several countries and even the level of the virus infection is much higher in neighbouring country India.
“Besides, communication with different countries is being opened and will continue. At the same time, relaxation among people in maintaining hygiene is also being noticed,” they said in a statement.
According to the data of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), a total of 3,50,621 coronavirus infected patients have been detected across the country and 4,979 covid-19 patients died of the disease till September 21 while around 2,58,717 coronavirus infected patients have made recovery.
“The total case detection rate is 19.11 percent while the death rate stands at 1.42 percent and the recovery rate reaches to 73.79 percent. The current case detection rate is 13.06 percent,” it said.The first coronavirus infection case was detected on March 8 in Bangladesh while the first death from the Covid-19 disease was reported on March 18 this year.
The government lifted restrictions on movement and activities of people on September 1. Though people across the country used to maintain the hygiene, wear masks and maintain social distancing after the start of the first wave of the pandemic in the country in fear of the virus infection, but after resuming the new ‘normal situation’ in the country, the scenario has been changed while people have become callous and lost interest in following the preventive measures.
After resuming the ‘new normal’ situation, it seems that the fear of coronavirus infection and its deadly nature has dimmed among people while people from almost all level, including educated people, are not maintaining hygiene, wearing mask and not maintaining social distancing.
Talking to the Daily Sun, a number of people in the capital and in some other districts said people have lost their interest in following the preventive measures and adjusting them to the current situation.
Md Abdur Rahim, a rickshaw puller in Mirpur area of the capital, said he believed that the coronavirus situation is almost over and there is no necessity of maintaining the preventive measures now.
“Wearing mask and maintaining social distancing are not possible after resuming the normal activities in the country as we regularly have to move everywhere for the sake of our livelihood,” Mahmudul Hassan, a small businessman in the area, said.
Although at the beginning of the pandemic, Md Rasel Khan, a private jobholder in city’s Mohakhali area, was more aware and taking precautionary steps. But with the passage of time, this awareness has only declined due to "pandemic fatigue", which occurs when people get tired of the pandemic measures.
The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has advised the government to check the second phase of the coronavirus infection, keep all preparations to ensure health services for people and remain cautious for detection of the virus infection rapidly.
They also suggested the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to prepare a roadmap about prevention and control of the second phase of coronavirus infection.
The national committee observed that wearing mask properly, washing hands with soap and water repeatedly, maintaining social distance and hygiene are the only way to prevent the Covid-19 as time limit of availability of the coronavirus vaccine is uncertain.
“It is necessary to make people more conscious and strengthen awareness programme among people to ensure their participation in it,” they said.
The advisory committee also suggested imposing rules about travelling as passengers are coming regularly from different countries, strengthening preventive measures in the entry points of the country in a bid to prevent the virus infection, and ensuring screening of passengers and their quarantine.