A Bangladeshi-born UN public health specialist today said the nationwide 10-day holiday alongside troops deployment to enforce social distancing proved effective in preventing COVID-19 spread in Bangladesh, keeping the country in a better off situation in the region.
"Bangladesh is in a better off situation compared to other countries in the neighbourhood," Professor Dr Zahid Haque, a doctor by background, told BSS in an interview as he is currently working with healthcare officials in Bangladesh in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Haque, who is a UN adviser, said the only one more COVID-19 was detected today after two days of lull while the toll even has not increased after the virus claimed five lives, a scenario that reflected the effectiveness of the government steps declaring a 10-day holiday.
He said the troops' deployment was another major step on the government's part in enforcing the social distancing to lessen possibilities of the spread of the virus.
But, he said, the nationwide holidays, due to expire on April 4, should be extended for at least one more week as the coming few days appeared to be very crucial in understanding the course of the pandemic in Bangladesh.
Haque, a Senior Advisor of United Nations' World Sports Alliance for Asia Pacific Region, said the enforcement drive should make people aware instead of panicking while BNCC cadets and Rover Scouts could as well be called in to spearhead the anti-COVID-19 campaign.
"Our message is – don't be panicked as it is a very simple disease that can be contained if everyone follows the government's health guidelines," he said.
Haque said COVID-19 patients could be treated like patients of all other normal flu and urged all not to use any antibiotics and pain killer as the coronavirus is a viral disease.
"The COVID-19 virus develops in five days while its symptoms are seen within highest 14 days . . . only thing which has to be primarily done is to keep the patient isolated," he said.
Haque also reiterated a health advisory suggesting that "the coronavirus is not an airborne disease" but it is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person, generated through coughing and sneezing and touching the surfaces contaminated with the virus.
"The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it," he said.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), the virus so far claimed five lives in Bangladesh and infected 49 against a global tally of 29,857 deaths and around 634,835 cases of infections.