Infected male sent to isolation and households adjacent to the affected will be totally locked down on Friday, says RRRC
The overcrowded Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar reported the first case of Covid-19 on Thursday, according to multiple sources in the coastal district.
The infected person from one of the 34 camps, where more than a million persecuted Rohingyas from Myanmar reside, has been sent to an isolation centre, they said.
Initially, the principal of the Cox’s Bazar Medical College where the testing was done and additional refugee relief and repatriation commissioner (RRRC) said that two Rohingyas were tested positive.
Later, Additional RRRC Kazi Mohammad Mozammel Hoque called this correspondent back to revise the number, saying, “The other person whom we thought to be a Rohingya is actually a Bangladeshi from the host community.”
Additional RRRC told this correspondent, “We have some bad news. A Rohingya has tested positive today (Thursday). He has been sent to an isolation centre.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said, “According to the government of Bangladesh, the first two positive cases of Covid-19 were identified from health facilities within the Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhiya today (Thursday).
“One patient is from the refugee population and the other one from the surrounding host population. Both have presented to health facilities run by humanitarian partners in Ukhiya, where samples were taken that were subsequently tested in the IEDCR Field Laboratory in Cox’s Bazar,” Mostafa Mohammad Sazzad Hossain, assistant communication officer of the Bangladesh chapter of the UN refugee agency said in a statement.
“Following the laboratory confirmation, rapid investigation teams have been activated to investigate both the cases, initiate isolation, and treat the patients as well as contact tracing, quarantine and testing of contacts as per WHO guidelines,” it said.
“Established procedures are in place to respond to suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the host as well as refugee population of Cox’s Bazar,” it added.
When contacted, RRRC Mahbub Alam Talukder told Dhaka Tribune, “The infected person is a male and aged nearly 35. He is in good health. We will make sure that the immediate members of his family and people he met are placed in institutional quarantine.”
“The infected person has already been sent to an isolation centre and we will totally lock down the households adjacent to the man tomorrow (Thursday),” he added.
“One in over a million is not significant. We are not yet panicked. But, the worrying thing is that people in the camps live in very congested conditions,” said Talukder, the top government person on the ground with respect to the Rohingya crisis.
He also revealed that there are so far few less than 100 Rohingyas in institutional quarantine outside of the camps.
Dr Mahbubur Rahman, the civil surgeon of Cox’s Bazar, told this correspondent that so far about 150 Rohingyas have been tested.
“Tracing of coronavirus in the camps is worrying because it will be very difficult to contain the outbreaks due to the overcrowded condition of the camp.”