15,000 Rohingya under coronavirus quarantine as cases hit 29

AFP
Dhaka, Bangladesh Published: May 25, 2020, 10:38 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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It comes as charity workers expressed fears over being infected in the camps as they worked without adequate protection.

Some 15,000 Rohingya refugees are now under coronavirus quarantine in Bangladesh's vast camps, officials said Monday, as the number of confirmed infections rose to 29.

Health experts have long warned that the virus could race through the cramped settlements, housing almost a million Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar, and officials had restricted movement to the area in April.

Despite this, the first cases in the camps were detected in mid-May.

"None of the infections are critical. Most hardly show any symptoms. Still we have brought them in isolation centres and quarantined their families," Toha Bhuiyan, a senior health official in the surrounding Cox's Bazar area told AFP.

He said narrow roads to three districts of the camps -- where the majority of the infections were detected -- have been blocked off by authorities.

The 15,000 Rohingya inside these so-called blocks faced further restrictions on their movement, he said.

It comes as charity workers expressed fears over being infected in the camps as they worked without adequate protection.

Two of the areas under isolation are in Kutupalong camp, home to roughly 600,000 Rohingya.

"We are trying to scale up testing as fast as possible to make sure that we can trace out all the infected people and their contacts," Bhuiyan said.

Seven isolation centres with the capacity to treat more than 700 COVID-19 patients have been prepared, he said.

Officials hope to have just under 2,000 ready by the end of May, he added.

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