We are witnessing the situation gradually deteriorating in the country. The novel coronavirus spread rate was low when the country detected its maiden cases on March 8. However, our situation in the last two weeks has worsened.
At present, it is difficult to predict in what direction we are going or what kind of situation awaits us in the upcoming days. It is also not clear how many people will be infected. However, the infection pattern is following the trend we saw in Europe and the United States of America. However, nothing can be said, now, exclusively about an infection rate surge or drop.
The measures taken so far, including isolating the country geographically and imposing social isolation, are certainly positive. However, we need to prioritise detecting new cases.
Once the infected are screened, quarantining them will be easy. We might slow down the upward infection rate if people are properly quarantined. If we can do so, even then we will have to be more cautious.
In many countries, the infection rate resurged when they suspended lockdown and returned to normal life. We must consider this.
We must maintain screening and social isolation even if the number of new cases drops. We will have to continue essential economic activities while maintaining social distancing. Our movement will have to be restricted even at that time.
All the infected must be isolated first by ramping up the number of tests.
The clusters, areas with concentrated coronavirus cases, must get special attention. Social distancing and isolation must be prioritised in those areas. The mentality to stay at home will have to be created through awareness-building campaigns.
Apart from this, we need to help infected patients recover fast. Medical facilities, including hospitals, should be ramped up. A positive change needs to be brought to our lifestyle so that the healthy people can strengthen their immunity.
Otherwise, a terrible situation awaits us.
Dr Mohammad Mushtuq Husain is the principal scientific officer at IEDCR