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14 July, 2021 04:58:52 PM
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Delta variant in Dhaka: Decisive actions imperative

Bangladesh had caught in a limbo at the sudden halt in the vaccine supply and began seeking alternative sources for the vaccine and now the country is buying the vaccine from China. However, the pace of the vaccination remains very tardy and at this pace to inoculate majority of population remains a very distant dream.
Kazi Asszad Hossan
Delta variant in Dhaka: Decisive actions imperative

It turns out that the incessant onslaught of Covid-19 is far from over as the virus is mutating relentlessly with the recent iteration being the delta variant which is notorious for the toll it took in India in previous months.

While delta variant has first originated from India, it had soon spread all over the world from UK to United States. The rapid spread of the delta variant has been a cause of sheer concern just as the invention of vaccines has allayed some fears.

However, the vaccination drive is still at the rudimentary level due to the western country's reluctant protectionism and selfish drives at hoarding the vaccine often at the cost of poorest citizens of the world. This vaccine divide is much starker in developing and poorest parts of the world where the bulk of the population hasn't been yet vaccinated and the probability of being vaccinated in recent future is becoming uncertain.

One of the countries which have borne the brunt of the vaccine crunch is Bangladesh. Since the very outset, Bangladeshi vaccine policy has been fraught with several flaws. While Bangladesh had managed to ink an agreement with the Serum Institute of India (SII), the initial plan of buying 1.5 Crore vaccines became futile as the SII abruptly halted the vaccine supply to Bangladesh citing government restrictions.

Bangladesh had caught in a limbo at the sudden halt in the vaccine supply and began seeking alternative sources for the vaccine and now the country is buying the vaccine from China. However, the pace of the vaccination remains very tardy and at this pace to inoculate majority of population remains a very distant dream.

Therefore, to end the assault of Covid-19 with mass vaccination remains elusive. As if to accentuate this very stark dilemma, the third wave of the Covid-19 triggered by delta variant and the imminence of a severe devastation induced by the delta variant is looming large.

While Bangladeshi authorities had managed to enforce border restriction to control the spread of delta variant, the initial government restriction however proved unavailing when later the delta variant had transmitted in Bangladesh through the border districts and the government lax monitoring of the Covid-19 regulations in the wake of second wave had accelerated the spread of the delta variant.

Bangladesh has been witnessing alarming rise in coronavirus cases over the past several days which compelled the government to deploy military to enforce strict lockdown. Now delta variant is running riot in the capital. An ICDDR,B study demonstrates that 68 percent of the coronavirus cases in Dhaka city are due to delta variant. Between May 25 and June 7, the scientists at ICDDR,B analyzed the genome sequence of 60 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the capital. Of this, 41 samples had the delta variant.

However, the mass people are exhibiting a sheer insouciance as they don't abide by the health regulations and developed a deep antipathy to lockdowns and other kind of government initiatives to stem the rise of Covid-19. Bulk of the general people in our country is employed in the informal sectors. Therefore, the certainty of their livelihood remains hinged on the business-as-usual condition. Therefore, in the times of lockdown, the mass people are faced with a stark dilemma between their life and livelihoods. This quandary is manifested in the backlash of the general people in response to the announcement of the government's lockdown.

The nonchalance of the common populace, therefore, is one of the contributing factors in the rising trend of Covid-19. While at the outset of lockdown in the last year's lockdown, people was seen to duly abide by the laws and public health regulations, people have grown increasingly apathetic towards the government and doesn't deem they are vulnerable to the Covid-19. This attitude among the mass population of not being susceptible to Covid-19 has been termed as "perceived insusceptibility" which means that people do not consider themselves vulnerable to widespread rise in the Covid-19 transmission which negatively motivate them to flout the government imposed rules and regulation.

This clamour for livelihood, mass apathy, perceived insusceptibility all converged to contribute to the hasty rise in the transmission of the delta variant in the capital which is alarming. The capital Dhaka is the mainstay of Bangladesh's economy and with the Eid being imminent, the general movement of people is set to further exacerbate the already volatile situation in the capital. Besides, there is the risk of rapid dissemination of the variant to other parts of the country.

Therefore, the rise in the Covid-19 cases chiefly induced by delta variant portends ill for the whole country with the general holiday imminent. The government had previously implemented incoherent policies in response to pressing challenges. Far from ameliorating the Covid-19 situation in the country, such ill-advised nostrums of the government had further exacerbated the situation.

This time around, the government should play a more judicious and vigilant role to stem the rise of the Covid-19. The authorities should therefore escalate the Covid-19 testing and should enforce stringent rules on the general people and also actively supervise the proper adherence of the rules. Besides, people need to be sensitized about the consequences of their impetuous nonchalance and perceived insusceptibility.

Moreover, the dire condition in the capital calls for fitting response to government authorities to control the spread of the Covid-19 transmission. Unless the government ably takes measures, the situation will worsen in the months to come. With only minuscule portion of the population been inoculated, such protracted Covid-19 onslaught will spell disastrous blow to the lives and livelihoods of the general people. Therefore, to avert such a nightmarish prospect, the government should concentrate its decisive efforts to safeguard the lives of the people.

The writer is student, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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