Saturday, April 11, 2020 | ePaper

Is our preparedness against Coronavirus sufficient?

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BANGLADESH is in a state of least preparedness with regard to the novel Coronavirus as its health care system is completely unequipped to deal with the current state of worldwide infection. While officials in Bangladesh said that they had activated a surveillance system in accordance with the epidemiological outline the ground reality is far from being totally on alert. We still have not barred any flight operation with China, the centre of Coronavirus outbreak, and Singapore, the country to have the second highest number of infected patients after China. Newspapers report that passengers and drivers arriving through the land ports are not properly screened while the airports don't have functioning thermal scanners but rely instead on hand held scanners which may not work with the same level of efficiency as the big ones.
On the average, around 15,000 people enter Bangladesh every day using the ports of entry. If even a single person is not screened properly then we could have an epidemic on our hands. It's unbelievable that we are allowing in people from the two biggest centres of the outbreak of the virus even though many other countries have stopped flights to China and Singapore. This is like having a death wish. Surely for the sake of earning a few dollars through business we can't keep our ports open leaving the rest of our population on the verge of an outbreak. At the least we should have stopped all flights and movement between these two countries until they had stated that the epidemic was under control.
By not doing so we have left our population entirely at the mercy of natural forces. While no cases have been found so far it doesn't take much for panic to run amok in the country--already the prices of face masks have doubled in online shopping sites. A real contagion will have far worse effects.

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