We are deeply saddened and concerned by the report of the first death from coronavirus in Bangladesh. This only raises the gravity of the threat of the pandemic that has been sweeping throughout the world, claiming the lives of thousands. No other disease in recent times has caused such human and economic havoc.
But have we been dealing with the outbreak with the rigour that it deserves? In our view, we have not.
First of all, we are not testing enough. We do not have enough testing kits at a time when testing is the key to fighting the disease. In our many reports we have shown how countries that have conducted a high number of tests have managed the situation better. Yet we have been trying to battle a pandemic of epic proportions with around 2,000 test kits for a population of 160 million-plus.
We have shown how inadequately informative and helpful our hotlines are. We have shown how the quarantine system is not working. And yet we hear that doing more tests might spread panic.
But it is time not to think of panic. It is the moment to start doing the right things.
Have we arranged enough medical facilities to treat the affected persons? No. Experts have been advising turning stadiums and empty buildings into emergency centres.
And we actually have no idea how many coronavirus infected patients are there in the open, mingling with people and spreading the disease. And if anyone dies undiagnosed of coronavirus, we will never know. They will go down in the book as pneumonia deaths or bronchial failure cases.
People are still gathering in large numbers on various occasions. It seems we have yet to take matters with the seriousness they call for and act.
Transparency and testing work better than anything else in fighting this menace, as has been proven time and again in different countries.
Time is running out.