We have been alarmed by observing a surge in Covid-19 infections across the country since the second week of the ongoing month. According to official sources, the country witnessed 2,187 new cases on Thursday. The case numbers hit the record high in recent times. As infections are rising, the hospital capacity too is filled up. But, even in the last month, the pandemic situation was well under control, with daily cases coming down to around 300.
All of a sudden, the infection rate started rising sharply. As per health experts, the reason behind this phenomenon is public reluctance to wearing facemasks and following other health rules like washing hands and maintaining social distancing. Although unbelievable, a lead picture of this newspaper’s yesterday issue has shown that the students of Dhaka University (DU), the country’s number one seat of higher education, bother little to follow the health guidelines. The press photographer covered the procession of a certain student organisation where most of its activists were seen parading the campus streets without wearing masks. If the DU students, who claim themselves to be the conscious citizens of the country, behave in this manner then the state authorities should rethink about reopening of schools on March 30 what was officially announced earlier. If required, the government should cancel all public examinations until and unless the situation improves.If the unhealthy trend cannot be controlled right now the situation might go out of control soon. Besides public health risks, it will also severely affect the country’s economy. So, for the greater interest of the nation, we urge people from all walks of life to wear masks and abide by the health guidelines. We welcome an announcement of the Inspector General of Police who said that police would carry out a motivational programme from March 21 to this effect. Besides lunching awareness campaigns, they would also distribute facemasks to public at free of cost. But, it would not be enough; the law enforcers must go tough against the rule violators. If needed the law of the land may be amended to award punishment to the law flouters.