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Rohingya camps in Bangladesh report single-day high for new COVID cases

Authorities impose full lockdown in 5 refugee camps while 29 others kept under close surveillance, says official

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 24.05.2021
Rohingya camps in Bangladesh report single-day high for new COVID cases

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh recorded the highest number of single-day coronavirus cases Sunday with 49 new infections, pushing the total tally to 992.

After testing 312 Rohingya, 49 were reported positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the office of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) said in a report released Sunday night.

The death toll among Rohingya from the virus in the world’s largest refugee camps also rose to 15, including two fatalities recorded in the last two days, the report added.

Bangladesh is home to more than 1.2 million stateless Rohingya, most of whom fled a brutal military crackdown in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017.

So far, 665 Rohingya have recovered from the disease, including 11 in the past day.

To stem the spread of the virus in the congested makeshift Rohingya settlements in Bangladesh, authorities on May 20 imposed a 12-day full lockdown at the five most infected camps out of a total 34, excluding new settlements of around 20,000 Rohingya on a remote island in the country’s southern Bay of Bengal.

“We have put five camps under complete lockdown while the rest have been kept under close monitoring,” RRRC Chief Coordinator Dr. Abu Toha M.R. Bhuiyan told Anadolu Agency.

Citing authorities' efforts to contain the virus in the Rohingya camps, he added that in the last 24 hours, 117 new contacts have been quarantined in isolation centers.

“Currently, 836 virus infected Rohingya are being quarantined, while the cumulative number of contacts quarantined to date is 3,361,” Bhuiyan said.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, while more than 34,000 Rohingya were thrown into fires and over 114,000 others were beaten, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

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