So, are you happy now? Because the state has returned you the rights to free movement and livelihoods by ending the shutdown that curtailed those rights.
But one thing that should not be overlooked is that the state has put on your shoulders a responsibility which is significant, more than the rights you got back. The all-important responsibility is to protect your lives from the deadly virus. It is your individual and collective responsibility to protect yourself and others around you.
The state has done its part to protect you all from Covid-19 by enforcing the two-months long shutdown. You may still criticise the state for the half-hearted enforcement of the "lockdown" to contain the spread of the virus. It could not enforce harsh policing measures to enforce it because of the weakness in its capacity and efficacy.
Finally, considering your enormous sufferings for being deprived of livelihoods, the state has allowed resumption of economic activities to mitigate the sufferings. It has urged you to behave responsibly and abide by the health safety measures.
Health experts keep warning that the end of shutdown at a time when the deaths and infections are spiking put us all at great danger. However, the health experts' script was not followed in the reopening of the economy. The state seems to have been compelled to let livelihoods prevail over lives as the long lockdown threw millions of people out of work ending the means of their earnings. The shutdown has ravaged the economy in an unprecedented manner. Hunger started catching the poor before the virus got them.
So, the onus lies on you now. If you behave recklessly and get infected with the virus, it will be considered your fault. You may blame the state if you do not get proper medical care to recover from the disease. You may hold the state responsible for your suffering. But the state always has an answer ready for you: it is doing everything as per its capacity and efficacy.
You know the state has been maintaining a poor and fragile healthcare system for decades. You are also aware of the current situation of how the healthcare system had been overwhelmed even before a large scale virus attack fell on it. In such a situation, any reckless behavior may invite disaster, as M Mushtuq Husain, adviser at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has warned, adding the situation will worsen further if we do not deal with this crisis with the awareness and involvement of all. Keep in mind that if you fall a victim, it will be your personal loss. So now, the choice is yours.
One thing you already know is that you cannot return to normal life until an effective vaccine is developed. Medical scientists across the world are struggling to develop the vaccine. But no one is sure when it will be available for you. It may take a year or more. Till then, you will have to live with the virus, which may stay for a long period. How long? There is no certain answer. The UK health agency has however indicated that it may stay for years. The health agency has decided to keep personal data of people with coronavirus for 20 years under its test and trace programme.
What the Public Health England (PHE) said in the statement is noteworthy. "Covid-19 is a new disease and it is not yet clear what its longer term impacts on public health will be, either on people who have been diagnosed with the disease or their close contacts. It is important that Public Health England is able to retain information about these cases and their contacts to help control any future outbreaks or to provide any new treatments."
Medical scientists and experts have yet to get a clear understanding of the behavior of the virus. Countries with strong health care systems are still scrambling to contain the virus. Success in containing the spread of Covid-19 in China and South Korea has not sustained for long as a second wave has hit the countries. The European countries that almost lifted the lockdown restrictions after flattening the virus spread curve have now been warned of a second wave in the coming months.
The World Health Organisation warned recently that countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an "immediate second peak" if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak. Therefore, public health experts — including those at the WHO— have warned countries against lifting containment measures too early, which could cause a rebound in new coronavirus cases.
Many experts have warned that a second wave of the pandemic could be even deadlier than the first, pointing to the 1918-20 Spanish flue pandemic as evidence.
When the Spanish flu first emerged in March 1918, it had the hallmarks of the typical seasonal illness – but it then came back in an even more virulent and deadly form in the autumn, eventually killing an estimated 50 million people.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, delivered a stark warning to countries beginning to ease their lockdown restriction saying that now is the "time for preparation, not celebration".
Health experts are continuously urging the countries to prepare for the possible second attack. They are urging the countries to use this time wisely and start to strengthen public health systems as well as building capacity in hospitals, primary care and intensive care units.
Bangladesh is walking on a different path to fight the pandemic. Before the virus curve flattened, it has reopened the economy at full scale. No significant step was taken to strengthen the healthcare system.
So the coming days may turn out to be cruel to you. Keep in mind that the state has put the onus on you to protect yourself in the time of pandemic. Do not bank much on luck.