The World Health Organisation has declared a global epidemic. Bangladesh is also panicked by Corona. There are various rumours as well. Bangladeshi immigrants are returning to the country everyday. There are different variations about keeping the immigrants in quarantine. Therefore, people are being more concerned. Tahsin Khushbu, representative of Moner Khabar, has talked about these issues with the president of Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrist, Professor Dr. Wajiul Alam Chowdhury.-
Moner Khabar: How much is the social and psychological fear about this panic of Corona?
Professor Dr. Wajiul Alam Chowdhury: There are both psychological and social fears. To be honest, many people have very limited ideas about Corona. But Corona is not something very new. There were viruses like Corona before; various types of viruses of cold and fever. But it is too infectious with no vaccine at all. Asphyxia or breathing problems are seen in infected people but this is not something fully new. As it is an era of media, it is being spread among people quickly because of it. Therefore, people are being panicked. But it is also right that people are being aware because of the media; like now we know the facts about Corona; such as what should be done after being infected etc. We get to know all of these through the media. Many people are being panicked because of the media and likewise we are also getting all necessary news to be aware. But there are personal matters too. Many people are suffering from depression because of this panic; many are being tensed for their workplace; they cannot go anywhere by leaving the house; they are being more tense than they should be about it. Besides, there are social problems too. For example, many are saying they will not go to his house or will not talk to that person. Though we are being told to maintain a kind of social isolation, people are exceeding the limit. It is also possible that people can misbehave or humiliate any Corona infected person. Many have no idea that we should not do this. Hence, it is being the problem for personal and social life as well. And the main thing is to be prepared by knowing about it properly.
MK: If someone is put in quarantine, he will be in a separate group maybe. He will be confined in a specific place. Everyone may not have that mental strength to go through that social isolation. What should be done in that case?
Professor Dr. Wajiul Alam Chowdhury: It is really a good point. Quarantine is not a new thing. It was there before as well. There were more infectious diseases before but now it is comparatively less in the number. There was quarantine as well. It was one part of the whole process. There is a purpose for quarantine. Someone has come from any infested area for example. And he is maybe infected also. The purpose of quarantine is:- there are different time spans for showing the symptoms of various diseases after being infected by the specific virus. Such as, the timespan for coronavirus is from a few hours to few days. So, the purpose of quarantine is to detain a person for some time so that the symptoms can be visible. And then it will be understood whether the person is infected or not. Such as, that person is not put into quarantine. And maybe he is also fine for a while at the beginning and there is no problem as well. But after some days, he has got all the symptoms of Corona. And thus the virus has been spread by him already. It is called inclusion period. That means, from the time of being infected by the virus to the time of showing the symptoms of the disease. In this case, it is very natural not to have mental strength for a person who is about to be in quarantine. That person needs counselling before quarantine. He should be assured and well explained. There are very few people who have experienced quarantine before in our country. So, he has to explain the fact that he is doing it for himself, for his family and for the society’s well being. He will not be harmed or go through any pain. This subject is important. Because quarantine is very new to the people of our country. Therefore, there is no alternative of counselling in this regard.
MK: Immigrants and their families are being boycotted in many places after returning home. In many cases, immigrants are not being welcomed much in their own family. What kind of mental effect can be on that person and on his family in these cases? And what should be done?
Professor Dr. Wajiul Alam Chowdhury: Many people misbehave with the patient and his family without understanding it. If someone has come from abroad, it is not his fault that he is infected. Nobody wants to be ill. Accidentally, he was in that place or in that environment. And thus he has been infected. And a person may not be infected after returning from an infested area. So, this is not right at all to misbehave with anyone by any final decision which is based on only guessing. Everyone should be explained about it first and then every person, who has just returned from abroad, must be obligated for a medical test. And if the result turns out to be positive, he/she should be treated like the other patients. In this regard, people should be informed that Corona does not mean inevitable death. The rate of death caused by Corona till now is 2% to 5%. Maximum patients can be cured. So, the rate of being cured is much more by getting proper treatment if anyone is Corona positive. Therefore, there is nothing to be panicked and it is valid for the patient and for the people who are being panicked unnecessarily without any reason. And it is not right to humiliate or neglect the patient and the patient’s family at all.