DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh is set to launch an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for Rohingya refugees and residents in the southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar for the first time, according to an official late Friday. 

“My dream comes to true as the authorities will open a 10-bed ICU and 10-bed HDU [High Dependency Units] in Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital tomorrow,” Dr. Abu Toha MR Bhuiyan, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner’s (RRRC) chief health coordinator, told Anadolu Agency about the effort at the main government hospital in the region.

With financial support from the UN aid agency, UNHCR, the development is progress, he said. “As a result of it both the persecuted Rohingya people as well as locals will benefit during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.”

As many as 43 Rohingya refugees have been infected by the lethal virus, as of Friday, with three deaths, according to RRRC records.

Total cases in the district stand at 1,809 with fatalities numbering 27.

Bangladesh, home to more than 1 million persecuted Rohingya refugees, has implemented a mega health project to stem the spread of the pandemic in squalid Rohingya makeshift camps.

The overcrowded south Asian country of more than 165 million people has recorded 1,388 deaths and 105,535 infections since the first COVID-19 case was reported March 8.

-1,900 isolation beds by June

“Under our ongoing mega projects we are working to extend the isolation beds for coronavirus-infected patients to 1,900 in Cox’s Bazar for both Rohingya and locals by this month,” head of RRRC, Md. Mahbub Alam Talukder, told Anadolu Agency.

He said there are nearly 350 isolation beds in Cox’s Bazar.

Meanwhile, authorities will launch Sunday a 60-bed Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centers (SARI ITCs) COVID-19 Hospital in Cox’s Bazar.

“International Rescue Committee (IRC) has funded the project,” said Bhuiyan, adding that another 50-bed “HOPE COVID Isolation Center” for pregnant Rohingya women will be launched Monday in refugee camp number 4.

Citing refugee safety amid the pandemic as the government’s priority, he said a 250-bed modern hospital in Tekhnaf, Cox’s Bazar is under construction for Rohingya and the host community.

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