First coronavirus death reported at Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees walk on a road at the Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, April 8, 2019. .

FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees walk on a road at the Balukhali camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, April 8, 2019. .

REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File Photo/File Photo

An elderly Rohingya refugee has become the first person to die from coronavirus in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh, where there are fears the disease could spread fast due to overcrowding.

The 71-year-old man died on May 31 while undergoing treatment at an isolation center at the camps where over a million Rohingya live, said Bimal Chakma, a senior official of the government’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission.

“Today we got the confirmation that he tested positive for COVID-19,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Aid workers have long warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a major outbreak at the camps in the Cox’s Bazar coastal district. The Rohingya, members of a mostly Muslim minority, fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

At least 29 Rohingya have tested positive for the virus so far since the first case was detected on May 14.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Officials said 339 tests have been conducted among Rohingya in the camps so far.

“We are living in fear about what we are going to do if there is a big outbreak,” Rohingya refugee Mohammed Rafiq said by phone.

Trending Stories

  • Religious leaders ‘outraged’ over Trump photo op at D.C. church amid George Floyd protests

  • George Floyd: What we know about the arrest, video and investigation

Bangladesh has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks, with 52,445 confirmed cases and 709 deaths.

“We are all working round the clock to ensure that testing is available to refugees,” said Louise Donovan, spokesperson for U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Cox’s Bazar.

“Those who are identified as COVID-19 positive have adequate facilities in place to care for them, and to ensure contact tracing and isolation of those who may have been exposed.”

As many as 60,000 to 90,000 people are jammed into each square kilometer, with families of up to a dozen sharing small shelters.

“It is a ticking time bomb,” said Alejandro Agustin Cuyar, Relief International charity’s Cox’s Bazar program director.

Cuyar said the refugee camps were overcrowded, with shared water sources and communal toilets and washing facilities.

“Once the virus takes hold, it will be incredibly challenging to flatten the curve, so we are gravely concerned the numbers needing treatment will soon be overwhelming.”

(Additional reporting by Poppy McPherson in Bangkok; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

View link »

© 2020 Reuters

Related news

Rapper Kanye West Announces US Presidential Bid, Gets Elon Musk's Support.

American rapper Kanye West, a vocal supporter of US President Donald Trump, announced on Saturday that he would run for president in 2020 in an apparent challenge to Trump and his presumptive...

Virus, Protests, Trump's Angry Words Darken US Independence Day.

The United States marked an unusually somber Independence Day on Saturday, as a record surge in coronavirus cases, anti-racism protests and an angry speech from President Donald Trump cast a shadow...

Russian Asylum Seeker Shot Dead Near Austrian Capital.

A Russian asylum seeker has been shot dead outside the Austrian capital of Vienna, local media reported.

5 9

Mexico now has the 5th highest coronavirus death toll in the world.

Mexico has reported 30,366 COVID-19-related deaths so far.

Bolsonaro shuns face masks at event as country records 1,000 deaths in single day.

According to Reuters, the country recorded 37,923 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 1,091 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies