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It is possible to contain coronavirus within four to six months: Prof Muzaherul Huq

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25th-Jun-2020       
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Reza Mahmud :
It is possible to contain spread of fatal coronavirus in Bangladesh within four to six months by implementing scientific plans with right strategy, Professor Dr. M. Muzaherul Huq, former Adviser of World Health Organisation (WHO), told the New Nation.
The public health expert, in an exclusive interview over telephone on Wednesday, said: "Right decision, right strategy and right implementation are the key factors to get success in restraining the spread of fatal virus within a short time in the country.
He further said unorganized and unplanned lockdown will not be fruitful and it had been proved in the past 66 days of nationwide shutdown.
Professor Huq said firstly the government has to start from the beginning by announcing another three-week lockdown across the country. And the newly imposed lockdown must be maintained strictly.
In this extended shutdown, the government will have to expand PCR testing in every district and upazila along with arranging perfect arrangements of medical treatment, he opined.
Pointing out lack of medical facilities in the hospitals, he suggested to provide ICU beds, ventilators, high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) and central oxygen supply in district level hospitals and upazila health complexes to treat serious corona patients.
At the same time, the ambulance service should remain stand-by to carry critical patients to nearby hospitals. "Every tool of the government and the society should be engaged to maintain the lockdown more strictly," the health expert said.
Expressing view over the role of public representatives and officials of the local government, Prof. Huq said that they have to play a vital role to create awareness among the people so that the people become more aware about the positive impact of long-term lockdown to check the virus outbreak.
"In that case, the youths could also be engaged in creating awareness and help the people to follow social distancing and other health safety rules strictly" he said, adding: "But first of all, the government will have to arrange massive tests of the people to detect all suspected persons infected with the coronavirus."
Defining the Covid-19 treatment line, the Prof. said: "The infected people will have to keep in isolations perfectly. The isolated persons to be provided preliminary care in the nearby government hospitals by professional doctors. After that, the contact tracing should be conducted thoroughly to find out which persons have come into contact with the detected patients and all of them have to be sent to institutional quarantine for 14 days."
As per the experts' suggestion, after conducting massive tests with PCR, antigen and antibody systems, the government then can mark the districts as red, yellow and green zones as per the detection rate of the virus infections. And the three-week lockdown could be lifted after finishing the markings.
While asked about the lockdown procedures, he said: "The Civil Surgeons will announce lockdown in districts and upazilas those are marked as red and yellow zones. Here, the Police Supers and Deputy Commissioners will assist the Civil Surgeon."
Replying to a query, the former WHO Adviser suggested that green zones and parts of yellow zones will have to keep free for social and economic activities with communication banning to the red zones and vulnerable parts of yellow zones.
He said, "The government must arrange in-service training for doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians those are engaged to attend Covid-19 patients."
According to the public health expert, it's highly necessary to strengthening the capacity of government hospitals in district and upazilas with providing necessary apparatus including personal protective equipment.

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