In 2020, we were in a state of disarray. Now we have been able to overcome that situation. Testing facilities have increased, the testing rate has increased and treatment facilities have also improved. But, we have experienced a number of things over this period. We have learnt that we work at a very slow pace and we do not realise the Covid-19 issue.
Next year, more awareness and a sense of responsibility are needed in dealing with coronavirus infections. We will be able to stay all right if we can apply the knowledge we gained this year properly.
We kept the returnees from Wuhan in 14-day institutional quarantine in February. After 14 days, they were released with Covid-19 negative certificates. But, later, the returnees from Italy were asked to self-quarantine at home. We all know what happened after that.
The new strain of the coronavirus now found in the UK is much more contagious and children are at risk.
Children will not get the vaccines even after the vaccine arrive in our country. Though children are our most loved ones, we are not trying to stop the new strain of the coronavirus from entering the country.
Now passengers from the UK are being formally quarantined for seven days but the rest of the days they are asked to be in home quarantine. Earlier we saw that quarantine at home did not work. So, why are we doing it again? This means that even if we know, we are not applying that knowledge.
Now there is a lot of noise about vaccines in the country. There is a lot of discussion about who will get it and who will not. The technical committee has advised the government to provide the frontliners with the vaccines first. We have to be careful about ensuring the proper utilisation of the vaccines.
We have also seen that corruption breeds among us. Some groups of corrupt people create obstacles when it comes to doing something. From conducting tests to providing PPE, everywhere some corrupt people cause problems.
There is a risk that fake vaccines may enter the market after the vaccine arrives. In addition, if the private sector is allowed to import vaccines, it might do business with it. Allowing the private sector to import or supply vaccines should be strictly monitored so that it does not charge unreasonable fees.
From our ministers to the higher authorities, everyone is telling people to wear masks and follow the hygiene rules until the vaccine comes. This wrong message is being spread continuously. We will have to wear masks and follow hygiene rules even after vaccination.
We still do not know how long the effect of the vaccines will last. Maybe it is one year. As long as a single person on earth is unprotected, no one is protected from the coronavirus. We do not have the capacity to vaccinate 80% of people at a time. So, we have to be careful.
The coronavirus is mutating all the time. If the virus becomes more contagious through mutations, it will be more deadly. So, there is no reason to think that we will be risk-free when winter is gone.
Therefore, in order to control the infection rate and reduce deaths from the virus, it is necessary to do testing, maintain proper quarantine and provide Covid-19 patients with proper treatment.
Prof Nazrul Islam, virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19