With the number of infections and deaths from coronavirus rising, people who earlier cared less about their health safety are now beginning to take the matter more seriously. More people are now found to be conscious about health safety in the face of increasing corona outbreak. This was evident when increasing numbers of people outdoors were seen wearing face masks, hand-gloves or some even covering their entire body to protect themselves from possible transmission of coronavirus.
“I don’t wish to be infected by exposing myself in public places,” said a young girl in her late twenties. Her fellow colleague said, “We should all follow the general rules of protecting each other from the virus. There is no alternative to health safety,” she added. This correspondent, while traveling to a number of places in the city, found common people taking the corona outbreak more seriously than they did before. Social distancing in public places and following personal hygiene was seen more common among the ordinary people taking the streets.
Benu Sharma, a bank official in Gulshan said, “I really did not think it would be so serious before but as I watch news of more people being infected, it sure looks like everyone has to take precaution.” Mintu Hawaladar in Lalbagh said, “I’ve watched it on television that experts are advising people to wear mask and using other protective gears.”
A man wearing a face mask, Rafi Ahmed, said, “Mask is must, there is no alternative. Mask can prevent a person from bacteria, dusty air and other viruses too as I have read on newspapers.” On Sunday morning at Ganobhaban, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the countrymen to stay at home informing that the COVID-19 is highly infectious and wearing face mask while in outdoors is a must.
The World Health Organisation recommends that more people stay at home the better the chances of the virus not getting opportunities to infect people. It also recommends usinmg protective gears in public to minimize risk of spreading the disease. The prime Minister said, "No one will be allowed to hold outdoor programmes on PahelaBoishakh. All programmes will be cancelled as we should avoid mass gathering. But you can celebrate the festival with your family using digital technology."
Experts say that people gradually may have become conscious regarding their health to contain the spread of corona virus. Professor Z M Kabir Chowdhury explained this as rise in collective awareness against the corona virus. Mass awareness programmes have been very effective in sensitizing people about the coronavirus transmission.
“I would not say people are still unaware. Wearing face protector like mask indicates that they have realized that virus can enter their respiratory system by inhaling.” “It also points to the facts that common people have become motivated by the immense awareness campaigns of the government and the media,” he added.
He further said, “As the numbers of infection and deaths are gradually rising in the capital it is also important to maintain social distances in the public or things may turn even more critical.” In this regard media activist Farhan Tanvir said, “It happened because media raised awareness since the virus started to spread in the country. At the beginning there was shortage of mask supply and price was high.However, the scenario has now changed to a great extent.”
“Many people were confused when the World Health Organization (WHO) had suggested that mask is not needed for healthy people. It was the mass media in the end which helped building understanding about the genuine importance of wearing mask,” he added. Former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Nazrul Islam said, “There is no alternative to fighting the disease other than social distancing and maintaining hygiene. Wearing mask is must for commoners and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for doctors.”
In the last three days till Saturday, 251 people were infected in Dhaka, and 83 others in Narayanganj, denoting 53 percent infections are in Dhaka city, and 87 percent corona patients in Dhaka division.