Dhaka, Jun 2 (efe-epa).- Bangladesh on Tuesday confirmed the first coronavirus death among the Rohingyas amid a growing number of Covid-19 cases among the refugees living in the country.
“A Rohingya man died of coronavirus in an isolation center of the camp. He was 71 and had co-morbidity,” Mahbubur Rahman, the health chief of Bangladesh’s southern Cox’s Bazar district, told EFE.
Rahman said 29 Rohingyas have tested positive so far since the first case was reported on Mar.14, a figure also confirmed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Louise Donovan, a UNHCR spokesperson in Cox’s Bazar, also confirmed the first in the Rohingya refugee camp.
“The humanitarian community is deeply saddened to learn of this development and sends our condolences to the family and the wider Rohingya community,” Donovan told EFE.
“Humanitarian workers are all working round the clock to ensure that testing is available to refugees, those who are identified as Covid-19 positive have adequate facilities in place to care for them, and to ensure contact tracing and quarantine of those who may have been exposed,” the spokesperson said.
The authorities have confirmed a total of 792 cases so far in Cox’s Bazar district, which hosts the largest refugee camp in the world.
Rahman said so far 16 people have died of the coronavirus in the area.
“We have taken all possible steps to prevent the outbreak in the camp and local communities, including arranging isolation facilities and making people aware of the virus,” he said.
Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in camps in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, 2017, following a wave of persecution and violence in Myanmar that the UN has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.
An Amnesty International report in April had warned that older Rohingya refugees in the camps were in imminent danger of the epidemic and some of them had not received information or care to tackle the disease.
The authorities, however, refuted the claims.
The camps have witnessed outbreaks of diseases such as measles and diphtheria on earlier occasions, as per the data by the Netherlands-based non-profit Medicines Sans Frontiers.
Bangladesh on Monday reported 2,381 new Covid-19 positive cases within the last 24 hours, taking the total number of patients to 49,534.
A total of 672 people have died of the virus, including 22 on Monday. EFE-EPA