BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health of Brac University (JPGSPH) organised a seminar on Wednesday, 19 February, 2020. It was on the “Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. The event was held at the university’s Mohakhali campus auditorium.
Brac University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Vincent Chang spoke as the special guest. He said three months ago Shanghai was a hustling, bustling mega city. But today it is literally in complete lockdown. Three months ago people in Hong Kong were afraid of anyone wearing face masks for the association with ongoing protests. The government passed a law making it illegal to wear face masks. But now people are scared of anyone not wearing one.
Professor Chang believed Dhaka to be the safest city. Keeping it that way required a collaborative effort. Let all do their parts and be aware and prepared to make Dhaka city the safest in Asia.
Dr ASM Alamgir, Leading Virologist, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), delivered a presentation. He said the Nipa virus, with a fatality rate of 70 to 100 percent, was of far greater concern than COVID-19. Some 80 percent of the COVID-19 cases were mild (home isolation), 20 percent severe (hospitalization) and 3 percent critical (ICU support). Based on the over 72,000 patients, fatalities were mostly between the ages of 60 to 80 years and above.
The World Health Organization suggests some precautions. Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections. Wash hands frequently, especially if there is a direct contact with ill people or exposure to their environment. Avoid close contact with live or dead farm and wild animals. Etiquette should be maintained on covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Crowds should be avoided alongside touching stairways and railings. At least 18 months would be required to develop a vaccine. The virus dies at 70 degrees Celsius. More information is available at iedcr.gov.org.
Professor Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director, IEDCR, said she was avoiding handshakes. Only patients need to wear face masks. But people were panic buying creating an artificial crisis.Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Professor of JPGSPH presented the concluding remarks on the occasion.