B’desh confirms 1st Rohingya death from COVID-19

Rohingya Refugee Camp

Dhaka, (Asian independent) Bangladesh on Tuesday confirmed the first coronavirus death among the Rohingya Muslim minority 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 news

Rahman said 29 Rohingya have tested positive so far since the first case was reported on March 14, a figure also confirmed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Louise Donovan, a UNHCR spokesperson in Cox’s Bazar, also confirmed the development, saying: “The humanitarian community is deeply saddened to learn of this development and sends our condolences to the family and the wider Rohingya community.”

“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 told Efe news.

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.

Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees have been living in camps in Bangladesh since August 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.

The camps have witnessed outbreaks of diseases such as measles and diphtheria on earlier occasions.

Bangladesh has so far reported 49,534 COVID-19 cases, with 672 deaths.