The Bangladesh government has imposed a “complete lockdown” in the Cox’s Bazar district, where over a million Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar are living in cramped camps. Experts have warned the disease could spread quickly through the alleys of the settlements.
No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the camps as yet, but one infection has been recorded nearby.
With the official number of cases in Bangladesh doubling to more than 200, including 20 deaths, in the last five days, officials ordered a lockdown of the district from late Wednesday.
The area “will be put under complete lockdown, meaning that no one is allowed to leave or to enter, until the situation improves,” the directive said.
Police and soldiers set up roadblocks on the main roads of the district, home to 3.4 million people including the Rohingya refugees, and were conducting patrols inside and around the camps on Thursday.
Refugee commissioner Mahbub Alam Talukder said movement restrictions on aid workers had also been imposed, cutting manpower by 80 percent.
“Only emergency food supply and medical services can continue work in the camps by maintaining extreme caution,” he told AFP.
Anyone with a recent history of travel abroad would also be prevented from entering the camps until they completed a quarantine, he added.
Bangladesh as a whole at risk
Asif Saleh, executive director of Building Resources Across Communities (Brac), a development NGO based in Dhaka, points out that Covid-19 and any confinement policy aimed at curbing it, will have a devastating effect on the country’s economy.
Jul 24, 2021Police and civil authorities in the Indian capital have demolished a makeshift mosque in a Rohingya camp, say the refugees, weeks after a massive fire had engulfed the settlement. The mosque, made up of tarpaulin sheets and bamboo sticks, was bulldozed at about 7am local time (01:30 GMT) on Thursday, at the camp located in […]