DHAKA (1) – The novel coronavirus has been detected in one of many southern Bangladesh camps which might be dwelling to greater than 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees, officers mentioned on Thursday, as humanitarian teams warned the an infection may devastate the crowded settlement.
FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees stroll on a street on the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File Picture
An ethnic Rohingya refugee and one other particular person have examined constructive for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a U.N. spokeswoman mentioned. It was the primary confirmed case in camps extra densely populated than most crowded cities on Earth.
“At the moment they’ve been taken to an isolation centre after they examined constructive,” Mahbub Alam Talukder, the Refugee Reduction and Repatriation Commissioner, informed 1 by telephone.
The opposite affected person was from the “host inhabitants”, a time period often referring to native residents exterior the camps, the U.N. spokeswoman mentioned.
Coronavirus infections have been gathering tempo in latest days in Bangladesh, which has reported 18,863 instances of COVID-19 and 283 deaths.
Support employees have warned of a possible humanitarian catastrophe if there’s a important outbreak in the refugee camps exterior Cox’s Bazar.
Dr Shamim Jahan, Save the Youngsters’s well being director in Bangladesh, mentioned in an announcement 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 individuals. Within the Rohingya refugee camps – dwelling to just about 1,000,000 individuals – there aren’t any intensive care beds at this second”, he mentioned.
“Now that the virus has entered the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar we’re wanting 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 non secular freedom, Sam Brownback, informed Washington reporters by telephone: “I’ve been to the refugee camp. It’s (so) extremely crowded that the COVID virus will unfold by way of there very quickly, sadly. They need to have entry to sufficient healthcare”.
Well being amenities lack employees and area, whereas individuals in the camps should not have sufficient cleaning soap and water or area to guard themselves, mentioned Manish Agrawal, Bangladesh Nation Director on the Worldwide Rescue Committee.
“Right here, individuals are residing 40,000 to 70,000 individuals per sq. kilometer. That’s no less than 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 mentioned.
“With out efforts to extend healthcare entry, enhance sanitation, isolate suspected instances and decongest the camp the illness will devastate the refugee and native inhabitants right here, the place there’s a a lot decrease lifestyle and a better price of present sickness that make refugees extra prone to the virus,” he mentioned.
Greater than 730,000 Rohingya arrived from Myanmar in late 2017 after fleeing a army crackdown. Myanmar is dealing with expenses of genocide on the Worldwide Court docket of Justice in the Hague over the violence. The military denies genocide, saying it was preventing a authentic battle towards Rohingya militants who attacked first.
Reporting by Ruma Paul; further reporting by Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; writing by Poppy McPherson; modifying by Philippa Fletcher and Howard Goller