When the news of the Covid-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China first broke out, it left me with a pinch of uneasiness as it did with many.
There were other instances of microbes (SARS, MERS) trying to have their ways with human civilisation in the last two decades, but those were never on this scale of the situation created by Covid-19.
As the world watched the virus ravaging through Wuhan, the possibility of this batch of microorganisms threatening the start of a global pandemic became all too real with multiple cases of infections appearing in other countries as well.
It was only a matter of time before this pathogen infiltrating Bangladesh.
It did eventually and its appearance in our country laid bare all the fault lines which had been there for a long time but the policymakers chose to ignore those as the focus was given on attaining shinier policy, social and development objectives.
The invasion of this marauding yet invisible enemy first laid bare the appalling lack of coordination among the government institutions of our country.
The challenge was unique as the world has not faced a challenge like this in more than half a century. The ease of global travel in modern days also added a steep and difficult dimension to it.
We did have time to prepare though. We also had the chance to learn from the scenarios in other countries. We failed to do either of those.
The apparent lack of cohesion along with the false sense of security regarding preparation made it possible for the virus to make inroads into our country and among our people.
A seemingly "situation under control" became "uncontrollable". It was a shock like no other.
The policymakers were busy in attaining success in "glorious" sectors like building large infrastructures and exporting consumer products such as RMG but completely failed to build up and prepare necessary medical facilities and social security arrangements.
The country was also at the positive side of the trajectory of high GDP growth rate but the growth in the economy was not equitable for all its citizens which became evident during this pandemic situation.
In this crisis, the first obligation of the competent authority and related institutions were to make good preparations to deal with the possible outbreak of the pandemic within our borders.
But the competent authority failed to take note of the possible severity of the situation even when examples were abundant outside of the border.
The second obligation was to stem the flow of people from affected countries as well as to establish "effective entry point checking systems" to find and quarantine incoming infected patients efficiently but the competent authority failed to carry out this obligation as well.
The third obligation was to institute an effective quarantine regime throughout the affected areas and to maintain a shelter-in-place order throughout the country to reduce the severity of the situation but these measures did not work accordingly.
Rather it made the prevalent income inequality all clear to see as the perceived "lockdown" resulted in the poor citizens facing the "no income situation" for a long time and many citizens becoming "new poor" after losing income due to the pandemic.
The existing social security arrangements were not enough to deal with this situation.
The government tried to provide food and money to the poor and the needy but that was not enough.
The country also experienced unkind gestures from many businessmen who made their workers come back to work by walking kilometres after kilometres.
That scene in itself was a testimony to the abject gap in wealth and the existence of influence in our society.
The biggest shock was experienced by the health sector of the country. Our medical facilities were not capable of dealing with the situation.
The whole system became burdened within a few weeks.
The failure of the competent authority to properly equip the medical practitioners to deal with the situation sullied the 'fight-back' in the very beginning.
The whole scenario in the health sector affected the poor and the lower-middle to the middle-income citizenry the most. The situation persists and it seems the whole system has adopted "triage" by default.
The story of Bangladesh was nothing short of amazing in the past three decades. The country has its problems in abundance but despite those unwelcome challenges, it was successful in making its marks in the global arena through the tenacity of its people.
The economy of the country was growing at a rapid pace. The country now possesses a huge youth working force.
In the ever-evolving global political and economic field, the importance of Bangladesh can hardly be contested by any expert but all these shiny milestones have a dark underbelly which became apparent for everyone.
This shock showed us the inequality in our society and how we forgot to tend to our basic needs by developing important sectors like the health sector.
This shock was necessary though. As the country was rising, it was necessary to find out all the fault lines in the perceived development of Bangladesh.
As those fault lines have become clearer, we can now put our efforts to mend these so that this country as a whole can work towards establishing an equitable state in the long run.
For that to happen in an organised manner, the policymakers must step up and provide the necessary guidelines, so that the country can achieve a powerful system to deal with any situations like the current crisis effectively in the future.
Aamer Mostaque Ahmed works in the syndication department of IIDFC Ltd. He is the current executive director in the Youth Policy Forum–YPF and is a thriller writer with Batighar Prokashoni.