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Coronavirus pandemic: A disaster in the making?

  • Published at 07:25 pm March 21st, 2020
Corona virus
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'The mass spread of the disease can be prevented if people becomes aware and follow the guidelines'

The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century substantiation debacle.

At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with this disease or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor its impact.

Stressing on the need to prevent coronavirus from spreading, Bangladeshi microbiologist Professor Dr Samir Kumar Saha told Dhaka Tribune: “There is no alternative to testing for coronavirus to stop the disease from spreading across Bangladesh.” 

Kumar Saha added: “It is not mandatory that everyone will be showing symptoms from the beginning, but the government shall take necessary initiatives so that every single suspect and service seekers are being tested at labs.”

“Lots of people have died around the world and we need to be cautious as well,” observed Saha, senior consultant and head of the department of Diagnostic Division of Microbiology at the Dhaka Shishu Hospital.

“Patients only with symptoms are going to the hospitals now, but if the government initiates screening for all then it will drastically help the identification of patients which in turn will help  the government to take necessary actions,” added the eminent professor.

“Though, the testing has to be supervised with a single central monitoring system of the government,” opined the professor.

Effective quarantine requires awareness

“Even though the government is trying to aware people of the disease by using different methods, the concept of quarantine is really new for the people of our country, thus they tend to ignore all the warnings imposed by the government ,” said Saha, an award winning doctor.

The doctor further said that he has doubts of whether home quarantine for returnees from abroad would be effective, he referred to the idea of keeping them in a separate place as done by the Chinese government.

Saha further said: “For an effective quarantine, we have to keep them in a separate place with some necessary facilities. The entire procedure will be a little but not as much if the patients roam around spreading the disease to everyone.”

When asked, this professor told this correspondent that he does not believe that the virus has spread in the community level.

“The infected persons found so far had a history of some kind of contact with returnees from abroad. Proper quarantine is the key to ensure better health for the suspected coronavirus patient,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Saha also suggested that the government should consider the idea of lockdown as done by many countries across the world.

“Mass gathering must stop. We have to convince people that it is not only for their own safety, but also for their close ones and the nation,” thinks the professor.

Saha believes the mass spread of the disease can be prevented if people becomes aware and follow the guidelines.

“Discussions are underway for providing PPE [personal protective equipment] and other necessary equipments for health professionals including doctors, nurses and other supporting staffs,” opined Saha.

“First, the PPEs shall be delivered to healthcare professionals at Dhaka Medical Collage Hospital (DMCH) and then to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU),” he opined.

“We are trying to provide PPE and others equipments as soon as possible, especially to the government hospitals,” he said.

Stressing on the need for the support from private sector, he said that this is high time for the private sector in the country to prove that they do not work only for profits, but also for the society.

He also urged everyone to take the matter seriously as the economy of the country is co-related with this pandemic.

Prepare ICUs, deploy trained people

The expert has also advised the government to provide necessary number of ventilators to the hospitals that have ICUs because the staffs of ICUs are well trained to provide the service. 

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