July 8, 2021

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1st COVID-19 case detected in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

The novel coronavirus has been detected in one of many southern Bangladesh camps which are house to greater than 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees, officers stated on Thursday, as humanitarian teams warned the an infection may devastate the crowded settlement.

An ethnic Rohingya refugee and one other individual have examined optimistic for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a U.N. spokeswoman stated. It was the primary confirmed case in camps extra densely populated than most crowded cities on Earth.

“As we speak they’ve been taken to an isolation centre after they examined optimistic,” Mahbub Alam Talukder, the Refugee Aid and Repatriation Commissioner, instructed Reuters by telephone.

The opposite affected person was from the “host inhabitants,” a time period normally referring to native residents exterior the camps, the U.N. spokeswoman stated.

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

Assist staff have warned of a possible humanitarian catastrophe if there’s a vital outbreak within the refugee camps exterior Cox’s Bazar.

Dr Shamim Jahan, Save the Kids’s well being director in Bangladesh, stated in a press release the virus already had overwhelmed the nation.

“There are solely an estimated 2,000 ventilators in all of Bangladesh, serving a inhabitants of 160 million folks. Within the Rohingya refugee camps – house to just about 1,000,000 folks – there aren’t any intensive care beds at this second,” he stated.

A Rohingya refugee walks at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. (Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

“Now that the virus has entered the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar we’re trying on the very actual prospect that hundreds of individuals could die from COVID-19. This pandemic may set Bangladesh again by many years.”

U.S. ambassador at giant for worldwide spiritual freedom, Sam Brownback, instructed Washington reporters by telephone: “I have been to the refugee camp. It’s (so) extremely crowded that the COVID virus will unfold by there very quickly, sadly. They should have entry to sufficient healthcare.”

Illness may ‘devastate’ refugee inhabitants

Well being services lack workers and area, whereas folks within the camps shouldn’t have sufficient cleaning soap and water or area to guard themselves, stated Manish Agrawal, Bangladesh Nation Director on the Worldwide Rescue Committee.

“Right here, individuals are dwelling 40,000 to 70,000 folks per sq. kilometre. That is at the least 1.6 occasions the inhabitants density on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the place the illness unfold 4 occasions as quick than in Wuhan on the peak of the outbreak,” he stated.

“With out efforts to extend healthcare entry, enhance sanitation, isolate suspected circumstances and decongest the camp the illness will devastate the refugee and native inhabitants right here, the place there’s a a lot decrease way of life and the next price of current sickness that make refugees extra prone to the virus,” he stated.

Greater than 730,000 Rohingya arrived from Myanmar in late 2017 after fleeing a army crackdown. Myanmar is going through expenses of genocide on the Worldwide Courtroom of Justice within the Hague over the violence. The military denies genocide, saying it was preventing a reputable battle in opposition to Rohingya militants who attacked first.

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