Coronavirus epidemic and our health conscience
The 'Novel Coronavirus' (NCorona) has been a threat to human health, worldwide. Hence, the virus can be deemed a menace to Bangladesh, as well. The epicenter of this deadly virus is Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, China. The coronavirus death toll in China has risen to 811, and surpassed the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003, according to the New York Times on 9/2/20. The physician, who first warned of the dangers of the virus, also died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Wuhan. The number of affirmed contaminations rose to 37,198, as per China's National Health Commission.
A US citizen was the first foreigner to die of the illness in China on February 6, while two deaths were confirmed in other places - one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines. At last, a Japanese man, who was suspected of having the virus, also died in China on February 8. Several nations have already evacuated their citizens from Wuhan and Hubei. Major airlines have suspended flights to and from China in an attempt to stop the spread. Bangladesh also suspended visas on arrival for Chinese citizens, living for working or business purposes.
The virus has already gripped at least 25 countries and regions outside China. Hopefully, a group of researchers in Australia reported to be on the path to greater success in preventing the spread of coronavirus around the world. The replica of the virus has been made for the first time outside China in the 'High Security' laboratory of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in the country. Earlier last week, Australia's 'Doherty Institute' was able to isolate the virus from the human body. These two advances have paved the way for the virus to be vaccinated. Needless to say, the only way to be safe until vaccine is to avoid contact with infected persons.
In Bangladesh, our hospitals are usually crowded. If a patient with coronavirus gets admitted in the hospitals under conventional management, the doctors, the patients and the nurses will be at risk of infection. Moreover, the hospitals do not have adequate ICU facilities. Most importantly, no awareness program has been taken so far for people of all levels. Preparation is not enough for all the stakeholders. In this situation it is important to take all necessary steps with the expert teams so that the deadly new virus can be dealt with. So far, no coronavurus infected patient is detected in Bangladesh.
At the same time, the sales management of the markets of raw goods/materials in cities also needs to be clean and hygienic. In China, the virus is spread from a market where different types of animals, birds and fish were sold in one place. In every market of raw goods/materials in our country, fish, chicken, beef, mutton are sold together.
Therefore, such a market place is a source for a variety of diseases to spread. In this situation, we think that changing sales practices and market management should be taken into serious consideration.
We, the citizens of Bangladesh, should be careful of our health. We do not bother to spit on the roads, the footpaths, the yards of our nice houses. For example, the thousands of people are being affected with tuberculosis, ever year in our country. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. We need to use napkins or we need to block nose and mouth with hands while coughing or sneezing in any places. A person can be infected with coronavirus through the infected person's coughing, sneezing and spitting.
As a university teacher, I teach my children and my university students, as well not to spit hither and thither. I do not tend to walk on the roads because of spitting, everywhere in the roads. Even though, some people do not bother to urinate into the road drain passages. We also fill in the drain passages with litter in this capital city as well as other cities. We have to change our habits. There is a question of doubt, "Are we civilized?' In highly developing and developed countries, nobody can think of spitting on the roads.
The pre-requisite parameter for becoming a developed nation or a highly developing nation is maintaining its healthy and clean environment. We are canvassing that we will achieve the status of the highly developing nation in the near future. For an example in India, in a bid to keep Pune's streets clean, the city civic body has started punishing people spitting on roads by making them clean the spit, besides levying a fine on offenders. The government must make the people aware to refrain from spitting. The media can play a crucial role. The ministry of health can replicate the law of Pune and on adhoc basis, the ministry can recruit health supervisors/monitors to enforce the law.
To draw a conclusion, it is asserted that public awareness activities need to be expanded to keep our environment clean and tidy. Since the novel coronavirus has become the pandemic, everyone should take precautionary measures in this regard. If the fatal virus is found in any person in this country, we must try to prevent this virus from further spread. We must not spit in any place; we must wash our hands before we eat any food; we must keep one-meter distance from persons at crowded places; we should avoid crowded market places/open market places; we should wear masks; above all, we must clean our houses and surroundings. May the Almighty Allah save us from the fatal virus.
The writer is a Professor and Chairman, Department of English and Modern Languages, IUBAT-International University of Business Agriculture and Technology