First coronavirus case present in Bangladesh Rohingya refugee camps


The novel coronavirus has been detected in one of many camps in southern Bangladesh which might be home to greater than 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees, in line with officers.

An ethnic Rohingya refugee and an area individual examined optimistic for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a United Nations spokeswoman stated on Thursday. It was the primary confirmed case within the densely populated camps as humanitarian teams warned the an infection might devastate the crowded settlement.


“Today, they have been taken to an isolation centre after they tested positive,” Mahbub Alam Talukder, the refugee reduction and repatriation commissioner, informed the Reuters information company by phone.

The different affected person was from the “host population”, a time period normally used to check with locals living outdoors the camps, the UN spokeswoman stated.

“One patient is from the refugee population and the other one from the surrounding host population,” WHO spokesman Catalin Bercaru informed the AFP information company.

Bercaru stated “rapid investigation teams” have been being deployed to observe up on the 2 circumstances, including that the sufferers’ contacts are being traced for quarantine and testing.

Coronavirus infections have been gathering tempo in latest days in Bangladesh, which has reported 18,863 circumstances of COVID-19 and 283 deaths up to now.

The authorities enforced a nationwide lockdown on March 26 in an effort to verify the unfold of the illness. Despite the shutdown, the variety of circumstances has risen sharply in latest days and the every day dying toll and new infections hit a file on Wednesday.

In this April 15, 2020, photograph, a health worker from an aid organization walks wearing a hazmat suit at the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. There's been little if any

In this April 15, 2020 picture, a well being employee from an help organisation walks carrying a hazmat go well with on the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar [File: Shafiqur Rahman/AP]

Crowded camps

In early April, authorities imposed an entire lockdown after a variety of circumstances have been present in Cox’s Bazar district, limiting all visitors out and in of the camps.

Bangladesh authorities additionally pressured help organisations to slash their camp presence by 80 %.

Rights teams and activists have expressed considerations that the camps are hotspots of misinformation concerning the pandemic due to an web ban imposed final September.

As many as 60,000-90,000 individuals are jammed into every sq. kilometre, with households of as much as a dozen sharing small shelters.

Dr Shamim Jahan, well being director for the worldwide help group Save the Children, stated the scenario was alarming.

“The virus has entered the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar,” he stated. “We are looking at the very real prospect that thousands of people may die from COVID-19. This pandemic could set Bangladesh back by decades.”

Jahan additionally expressed concern over restricted healthcare capability within the nation, saying: “There are only an estimated 2,000 ventilators in all of Bangladesh, serving a population of 160 million people. In the Rohingya refugee camps, there are no intensive care beds at this moment.”

Meanwhile, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK stated the outbreak should function “a wake-up call” for Bangladesh to carry web restrictions within the camps.

“The blackout is not just preventing aid groups from doing their jobs, but also blocking refugees from accessing life-saving information,” stated Tun Khin, president of BROUK.  

More than 730,000 Rohingya arrived from Buddhist-majority Myanmar in late 2017 after fleeing a army crackdown.

Myanmar is dealing with fees of genocide on the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the violence.