Aid groups have warned of a looming humanitarian disaster after coronavirus was detected for the first time in the sprawling camps that host about one million Rohingya refugees.
The camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, which are more densely populated than some of the world’s busiest cities, have been under lockdown since 14 March, in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading.
On Thursday, the UN confirmed that an ethnic Rohingya refugee and another person had tested positive for Covid-19. “Both patients are in isolation and contact tracing is underway,” the UN’s refugee agency said in a statement.
Humanitarian groups fear the virus could race through the camps, where families live with up to 10 people in a room, often with limited access to basics such as soap and clean water. Households are forced to queue to access drinking water and food at communal distribution points, making social distancing impossible.
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On top of overcrowding, many refugees, who fled persecution in Myanmar, have underlying health conditions or have not received standard immunizations, according to health experts.
The charity Médicins Sans Frontières warned that before Covid-19, around a third of patients it treated presented with respiratory tract symptoms, such as shortness of breath, meaning they are at higher risk of the disease. Health services for those who get sick are limited.
Health experts and Rohingya community leaders have become increasingly concerned as the number of coronavirus infections have continued to rise in Bangladesh, which has reported 18,863 cases of Covid-19 and 283 deaths.
Sep 14, 2020Staff Reporter Abul kalam of Camp 16 told to our correspondence that Rohingya Community Members actually want to go back to Myanmar, not to a island which is in the middle of bay of Bengal. It is really very dangerous during monsoon season. Recently, some leaders from different camps went to see the location whether […]
Sep 01, 2020
Aug 21, 2020