The outbreak of deadly novel coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19, across the world creates panic and mistrust globally. So far, no specific drug or medicine has been identified or invented to prevent or treat the virus.
As a preventive measure, a number of hygiene practices have now been strongly recommended. These include: washing hands with a few times daily; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth by hands; covering the nose and mouth with a tissue or handkerchief or the hand when coughing or sneezing; avoid handshakes. There are some other steps like avoiding close contact with people who are sick; cooking meat and eggs thoroughly; and avoiding public gathering when possible.
It is interesting to find that the suggested preventive measures are neither new, nor unique. These are some basic hygiene always need to be practised by all. Nevertheless, a large number of people in many countries of the world including Bangladesh are either ignorant or uncaring about the practices. For instance, washing hands with soap before preparing and taking meal and after using toilet and touching dirty things is a basic hygiene. It is taught during childhood and in primary school. Moreover, it is frequently advised by physicians and health experts for all. Media regularly provides a number of health and hygiene-related tips where necessity of hand washing is underscored. In Bangladesh, even a number of well educated people ignore the basic cleanliness.
Another important protection against coronavirus is covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Again, like hand washing it is also a basic sanitation practice instructed in childhood. By not covering his or her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, one is spreading droplets of liquid which contains germs in the air. Other people may easily breathe the germs in the air and get infected. The droplets can also easily get onto food and make it poisonous. It appears that a growing number of people in the country cares little about such hygiene practices. They don't even feel shy of uncovered sneezing or coughing in public places. They are quite used to do these as well as spiting openly. Again, some of those cover their mouth and nose with tissue while sneezing or coughing, failed to dispose the tissue at a proper place.
Using a face mask is believed to be a protection against coronavirus. In reality, face mask serves multiple benefits. It protects the user from dust and air pollution. It also helps cover his or her nose and mouth and thus contains spread of germs in the air. What is needed is to wash or sanitise the mask daily or after a couple of days and dispose it off by taking a new one.
Cooking meat, fish and egg thoroughly is also not a new piece of advice. It is always suggested so that harmful bacteria in food could be killed. Similarly, boiling the drinking water is also a very old practice to contain water-borne diseases.
In fact, deadly coronavirus now reminds people all over the world that there is no alternative to basic hygiene practices. In a globalised and integrated world, all have to do these. There is no room for self-protection. People have to be cautious and sensitive to each other. Callousness of some people will make everyone vulnerable.