Health professionals across the world are yet to effectively tame the novel coronavirus. The deadly pathogen is still claiming at least three to four dozen lives and infecting a few thousands every day in the country. The severity of the pandemic is far more intense in many more countries. Medical researchers have been trying hard to beat the virus, but they are yet to be successful. There is, however, the light at the end of the tunnel. Some vaccines effective against the virus, hopefully, will be available in the early part of next calendar year.
Until effective vaccines or drugs against the disease are found, the best way to stave it off remains to be the rigorous compliance with the safeguard measures---use of facemasks, repeated washing of hands and maintenance of social distancing--- prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some people, unfortunately, are not complying with the health guideline, thus, exposing themselves as well as others to the dangers of being infected. And the level of non-compliance is unbelievingly high.
A study conducted in March and April by the disease control unit of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has revealed that only half of the population (1549) surveyed have appropriate knowledge about Covid-19 safeguard measures. What is, however, more disappointing is that only half of them, meaning a quarter of respondents of the survey, used facemasks and practised hand washing and social distancing. Two separate studies done by the same unit on university and medical students and health workers and staffers during the past three months produced mixed results notwithstanding the fact the latter group had shown a high degree of awareness.
With the restrictions on all economic activities withdrawn for the sake of 'livelihoods', the people are back on the streets and their working places. Now, the need for complying with the safeguard measures against the virus has become far more important. But the reluctance to use a facemask or maintain social distancing witnessed among the vast majority of the population is bound to stir up worries among the people who care about safeguard measures. Such an indifferent attitude is unacceptable when the rate of infection and fatality continues to be high.
The lack of concern on the part of the health authorities on the safeguard issues is highly frustrating. Since the first case of Covid -19 detected on March 8 in the country, the performance of the DGHS has come under question on many occasions. These days, except for issuing a press release regularly on Covid situation, it hardly has any role in combating the disease. Nor is it active in sensitizing people about the safeguard measures.
The government some weeks back did issue a notification making the use of facemask mandatory while one is out on the street or in public places. But it has skipped the very responsibility of ensuring compliance with its directive. As the pathogen is still as active as it was months back, the authorities must launch an extensive campaign to encourage people to follow safety measures against virus infection. Besides, law enforcers might consider meting out on-the-spot punishment for violating the government directive relating to the facemask.