The coronavirus situation has not yet improved and the coming winter months may make things worse. But it seems that many of us are not following the general safety requirements and neglecting them
The ongoing pandemic has brought drastic changes to the world within a short time.
Each industry is dealing with its own problems that have arisen as a result of the emergence of the pandemic, both at national and international level; countries, states could not do anything but find a way to contain or stop this virus from spreading and it worked for some of them while for many it did not.
Sadly, now people are forgetting the threat of Covid-19 and ignoring all the basic social distancing and necessary disinfecting procedures.
Examples can also be found in public places or transports where people are putting the lives of others at risk through bypassing the health and hygiene requirements.
However, stricter rules were imposed initially and people maintained these basic rules on public transports such as buses, human haulers etc.
A press release issued by the Road, Transport and Highways Division in September stated that people must wear masks and that the number of people inside the bus must not exceed the number of seats available inside.
But these days buses are carrying extra passengers, which goes strictly against the rules issued by the ministry.
Those who are actually wearing masks, most of them are using cloth masks rather than surgical, N95, or KN95 masks.
As found from research conducted by the FDA, the most effective mask which protects from high amount of particles and viruses such as Covid-19 is the N95 mask.
For general use, people can either go for N95 or at least wear surgical masks.
Surgical masks, if worn properly, can help block large-particle droplets, splashes, sprays, or splatter that may contain germs (viruses and bacteria), keeping them from reaching the mouth and nose.
It is important to bear in mind that surgical masks are only meant to be used once.
In the private sector, such as small and large corporations or companies, very few of them are maintaining social distancing and other rules prescribed by the relevant authority in light of the guidance provided by WHO. The situation is no different in the public sector.
Not many are talking about it as people have no other choice but to engage themselves in their regular jobs to make ends meet and speaking against the higher authorities may very well result in them losing their jobs.
These corporations must be held accountable if they do not follow, ignore, or neglect general safety requirements and it is the duty of the government to monitor as well as the responsibility of the people of Bangladesh to report to the government if rules are broken.
These safety measures are now seen to be less followed in shopping malls and grocery stores.
For instance, almost no procedures are seen to be followed in salons in both urban and rural areas.
Restaurants across our country have suffered immense loss and during June-July of 2020, 95% of them remained closed and many had to close down their business permanently due to irreparable losses.
The remaining ones are trying to resume their business but most of them are not abiding by or taking the proper safety measures.
Customers keep entering restaurants in numbers where social distancing is the least seen phenomenon.
Moreover, separate BBC and Bangkok Post reports reveal that domestic violence incidents have increased by 20% and online harassment during the pandemic has escalated at an alarming rate worldwide.
We are also experiencing an unprecedented rise in the number of individuals suffering from, inter alia, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder and the increased incidents of domestic violence and online harassment is only making it harder for the victims to survive.
Experts have warned that the pandemic is driving the planet to an ever greater battle for existence against deteriorating mental health, resulting in more and more people committing suicide in the near future.
For example, the cases of depression in Britain have doubled during this period, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Governments around the world are trying their utmost to reduce the possibility of recurring waves of the deadly virus which has brought the world on the brink of total collapse.
For example, The Guardian mentioned in an article how Australia has imposed different levels of restrictions in their different states and territories.
The UK has imposed even stricter rules and fines if breaches are made and tougher rules will be implemented if they are not followed, said their PM.
These include restrictions for indoor public places, such as a total of six people from two households and for outdoors, the number is a maximum of six people, as reported by BBC in an article.
Experts from our country, considering reports from around the world, have already directed the administration to prepare for a deadlier wave of Covid-19 in the months to come as we are entering the winter season in which the low temperature may act as a catalyst for the virus.
Our ancestors had to risk their lives by fighting against bloodthirsty enemies to ensure the survival of themselves and their loved ones, but the enemy we now face needs far less effort to be conquered.
By acting carelessly, we are hampering the lives of others and putting them at grave risk. The risk is still with us and will not go away soon unless stricter rules are followed consistently.
If not for anyone else, we must maintain minimum safety procedures for the sake of those individuals who voluntarily or by virtue of their profession such as, police, doctors, nurses etc fought and risked their lives 24/7 for the last few months and are still doing so.
Among other things, all the situation demands from us is to follow the necessary safety measures, stay united, and raise our voice in situations where it becomes a necessity, such as in case of harassment and domestic violence.
Tazrian Alam is a freelance contributor.
Md Shafiuddin Jihad is a Research Associate at A.S & Associates.
Deena Afroza Aziz is pursuing an LLM from the Eastern University, Bangladesh.
Arafat Reza is employed as a Teaching Assistant at the LCLS (South), Dhaka.