Just when we thought that we had a break from the global pandemic of Covid-19, the outbreak of a rare disease like monkeypox in 30 non-endemic countries has raised a concern that may likely place the entire Bangladesh on another health watch. Little has been known about the new disease except that the virus does not spread as fast as the coronavirus, but has obvious symptoms and presently has no cure. No monkeypox case has been reported in the country, so far. But, considering the country’s open borders with India, it could be just a matter of time before the latest virus is detected here. We should learn from our past mistakes. Perhaps, everyone knows that it is because of sheer callousness of the health authorities and personnel at the country’s entry points, Covid-19 shot up sharply countrywide.
The fatal virus was first transmitted here from a group of returnee Italian expatriates. On arrival at Dhaka airport, instead of keeping the returnees in mandatory quarantine, they were allowed to leave with a promise of voluntary 'home quarantine.' On arrival at their village homes, they forgot the promise and freely mixed with local people putting their lives at great risk. According to an estimation of the WHO, 141,000 Bangladeshis had to pay the price of the health ministry's callousness through their valuable lives. All concerned should remain vigilant so that the past mistakes do not recur. Authorities should at once begin symptoms screening for travellers from countries where monkeypox has been reported. Travellers with symptoms must undergo quarantine for one or two weeks.