The new coronavirus has been detected in the world’s largest refugee settlement, raising concerns about the virus spreading quickly in crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Officials from Bangladesh and the United Nations announced that a Rohingya refugee in a camp in southern Bangladesh tested positive for Covid-19. The person was taken to an isolation center, Reuters reports.
“The cramped and overcrowded camps with unsanitary living conditions and poor basic health facilities are the potential quick triggers for the rapid spread of the infection,” said Ram Das, deputy country director for humanitarian response at CARE Bangladesh, an aid group. “The camps have a 40,000 person per square kilometer density, almost four times that of New York City. This has made our task to contain the spread even more challenging.”
The refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar is home to nearly a million Rohingya people who have fled from persecution and threats against their lives in neighboring Myanmar.
Health workers fear that the virus will spread in the densely populated camp unless sanitary facilities are improved. The UN’s refugee agency has been installing handwashing stations and communicating disease-prevention strategies to those living in the camps.
Bangladesh has reported nearly 19,000 cases of Covid-19.