The confirmation of a physician in Narayanganj of coronavirus infection on Sunday has come as a stark reminder that the pandemic has spread to places that we cannot even imagine. The doctor who used to see patients at a private clinic has without doubt come into contact with a Covid-19 patient unawares. A frontline defender the doctor has contracted the virus, apparently because he did not take precautions to avoid infection from suspected patients.
The case of the Narayanganj doctor has been confirmed the Civil Surgeon of Narayanganj, Dr Md Imtiaj who declined giving details save that the infected physician ws not of a resident of the district. Since the route of spread of the virus to the doctor has not been firmly established, it is also possible that he might have come into contact with a Covid-19 patient at some social function, or at a marketplace or from a friend or a relative coming in close contact with him. If his infection is the result of spread of the virus in the community we should await a nightmare.
The infected physician was not seeing Covid-19 patients. There is thus no scope of taking the transmission of the virus accidentally for not taking adequate protective measures. The patients were of a mixed type that a general health clinic normally deals with. A conclusion that can be drawn from this that since Covid-19 patients are spread in the society , all doctors should use personal protection equipment (PPEs) while examining their patients.
The health authorities in the district have quarantined a total of 39 people including 13 who came into contact with a trade who died compaining of fever, cough and nose sore in the district town in the early hours of Saturday.
Dr Sheikh Mustafa Ali, health officer said Narayanganj City Corporation has been reported to have, however, quoted doctors as saying that the trader died after suffering a cardiac arrest. On Saturday 26 more people were quarantined in the district.
There is no alternative to the start of testing coronavirus suspects on a massive scale to identify and isolate all coronavirus cases across Bangladesh to be in a position of ascertaining the routes of transmission of the virus. Without coming to such a stage at the shortest possible time the goal of winning the war against the pandemic will continue to remain difficult to achieve.
Mostafa Kamal Majumder