The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

No recreation at cost of health protocol

No recreation at cost of health protocol

Forced into long five to six months' confinement, if most people start fidgeting about and looking for an excuse to get over the monotony and boredom with gay abandon in any recreational site, they cannot be blamed. Now that the tourist spots including sea beaches of Cox's Bazar and Kuakata and the places of historical interest have been opened to the public, a section of visitors is too euphoric to mind the health protocols. Pictures carried out in both print and electronic media are frightening.

Against this development, the HC on a writ petition submitted to it had to serve an order on the authorities concerned to explain why the Ramna Park would not be reopened. Inconsistency in policy is quite evident.  

On the contrary, whether it is at sea beaches or the capital's holidaying venues like the Lalbagh Fort, people are milling in droves without maintaining physical distancing. What is most objectionable is that a large majority do not even wear masks. Director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield has come up with the firm assertion that face-covering masks are 'the most powerful public health tool' against coronavirus and might provide even a far better protection than a vaccine.

Top epidemiologists and virologists in the United States have long advocated for mask wearing but that country's president and his diehard followers have ignored and even defied the instruction to disseminate a contrary message. To what effect is now known to the wide world. In Bangladesh, no such insanity or controversy was there but still a large number of people behave as if they could not care less. This is despite the government's clear instruction for mandatory mask-wearing in the outdoor and slapping fine on anyone breaching the order. There are even isolated incidents of penalising violators but generally people go scot-free for the offence.

In most European countries like the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany a second wave of the virus attack is on its way. As many as 7,000 new cases were reported in Spain in a week. France and UK are contemplating further lockdowns. Bangladesh has no reason to feel secure just because cases of coronavirus infection are comparatively low. It may be because of fewer tests carried out. Still the number of daily infection varies between more than a thousand and 2,000 mark and the death figure has not come below 20.

One of the reasons may be herd immunity and the virus's increased mutation almost at double the global rate to the effect that it becomes far less transmissible. Yet the nature of the disease is unpredictable and therefore a second wave or even a third wave cannot be ruled out.

In the absence of a clear picture, it is foolhardy to ignore the threat and throw caution into the wind. Recreational venues have been opened not to allow people to give a damn to health protocol. Experiences of other countries not maintaining the basic World Health Organisation's guidelines at restaurants, parks and beaches are painful. Now the WHO has issued another dire warning for European countries. This nation can count itself fortunate enough not to be one of the worst affected ones. But there is no way of overlooking the grim spectacles unfolding in neighbouring India. Daily infection cases now recorded there are nearly in the region of 100,000. It must not be forgotten that weather, food habits and many aspects of lifestyles are similar in several states of India and in Bangladesh.

Seasonal variations may be a factor for the spread of the disease. One is not sure if the winter will not be a favourite season for the virus to stage a strong comeback. At least for America, the prediction is far too grim. By December, 410,000 American may have lost their lives. This means that the virus will claim more lives in the three and a half months than it has done in the past six and a half months. One may only pray that nothing similar happens in the chilly weather of winter here. So, the people must be on their guard to avoid any such eventuality. There is need for recreation but it must not be at the cost of lives.



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