Views: 51

COX’S BAZAR (AFP) – A Rohingya man has become the first person to test positive for Covid-19 in the vast refugee camps in Bangladesh that is home to almost one million people, officials said on Thursday (May 14).

Health experts have long warned that the virus could race through the cramped, sewage-soaked alleys of the camps in the Cox’s Bazar district, where the persecuted Muslim minority have been housed in canvas and bamboo shacks since they fled a military offensive in neigbouring Myanmar more than two years ago.

Local health coordinator Abu Toha Bhuiyan initially said two refugees had been put into isolation.

The World Health Organisation later said one case was of a Rohingya man, and the other was of a local man who lived near the camp and was being treated at a clinic inside the area.

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

Bercaru said “rapid investigation teams” were being deployed to follow up on the two cases. The patients’ contacts are being traced for quarantine and testing.

Local authorities said prevention measures and testing were being stepped up.

In early April authorities imposed a complete lockdown on the surrounding Cox’s Bazar district after a number of Covid-19 cases, restricting all traffic in and out of the camps.

Police and soldiers set up roadblocks on the main roads of the district, home to 3.4 million people including the Rohingya refugees, and conducted patrols inside and around the camps.

Authorities in Bangladesh also forced aid organisations to slash their camp presence by 80 per cent.

Rights groups and activists have expressed concerns that the camps are hotspots of misinformation about the pandemic because of an internet ban imposed in September 2019.

To continue full article: Click here