Goodbye 2020 Hello 2021
Let us pray for a world free of pandemic01 January 2021 Kazi Zahidul Hasan
People around the world bade farewell to 2020 confining them into indoor celebration on 31st night amid novel coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 overshadowed most New Year's Eve celebrations in the cities around the world and Bangladesh capital Dhaka was no exception of this.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) imposed restrictions on open space programmes, fireworks and entry at specific areas to prohibit mass celebrations on 31st night on the eve of New Year 2021 in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
At the very least, everyone had hoped to end the year with a bang for a moment forgetting about the hardships of the year that has been. But the situation was different this time as the Covid-19 pandemic has left a trail of destruction worldwide, with more than 18,15,257 succumbed to the virus till December 31,2020.
On the economic front, thousands of businesses have folded, millions have lost their jobs and incomes and paralyzed economic activities across the world throughout 2020 forcing nations to announced stimulus packages worth trillions of dollars in a bid to keep recovery on the track before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The new virus also poses a catastrophic threat to human civilisation.
Despite all sort of losses, pain, tragedies and economic devastation of the year 2020, vaccine news brings hope at the end of a glum year.
The U.K. became the first country to start distributing a Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine to its population, rolling out a mass inoculation programme on December 7.
On December 8, Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old British grandmother, became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine outside of a trial.
"It's history and the best thing that's ever happened. If I can do it, so can you," she said at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, central England, wearing in a mask and a Merry Christmas t-shirt.
Subsequently, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines are being administered to people in the USA, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico, Oman, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and Belarus.
Like many other countries, Bangladesh is also preparing for rolling out a coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and drugmaker AstraZeneca.
"The first batch of Oxford vaccine was expected to arrive in Bangladesh at the end of January or early February. But we are expecting to get them earlier as the vaccine secured authorisation in the UK," said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday.
The first virus patient was detected in Bangladesh on March 08, 2020 and around 7,531 people have died of the COVID-19 in the country till now.
As the pandemic poses a disastrous impact on public health and national economy, the government of Bangladesh was desperately trying to get access to a vaccine for mass inoculation of local population.
The government has undertaken a 'highly ambitious' mission to vaccinate 14 crore people - 80% of the population - in two years.
The government of Bangladesh has done extensive homework and designed a masterplan to roll out the largest ever vaccination programme anytime in the New Year subject to availability of jabs, according to media reports.
"The government would face immense challenges to ensure vaccine availability. Besides, money is a big factor to arrange adequate jabs for Bangladeshi people," Professor Mustafizur Rahman, a noted economist of the country, told The New Nation.
He said a successful vaccine rollout programme would help build investors confidence, fuel consumer spending and factory output, and boost economic activities.
"Above all, a mass inoculation would bring a new hope to get life back to normal again in the New Year. Let us hope for the best and look forward for a successful vaccination programme undertaken by the government," he added.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted Bangladeshi virologist and member of National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said the pandemic poses a big threat to mankind. But the arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a new hope in the New Year.
"Let us hope and pray for a pandemic free world in 2021 with rapid vaccination of global population," he added.