Crowded population, violation of social distancing rules contributing to rapid spread of virus in camps, says official

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s crammed Rohingya camps are threatened with the coronavirus outbreak as the infection tally rose to 21 with eight new cases reported on Friday, a government official said on Saturday.

The first COVID-19 case in the world’s biggest refugee camps was recorded on May 14 and it took one week to push the infection tally to the second digit mark.

Mahbubur Rahman, the government civil surgeon in Cox’s Bazar, told Anadolu Agency that the high density of population and frequent violation of social distancing rules in the crowded Rohingya camps are responsible for the spread of the pandemic.

“Twenty-one infections in the packed camps of over one million people is not at all a big figure. We are trying to sort out the immediate contacts of the new infected to isolate them,” Rahman said.

He added: “Despite various preventive measures, virus transmission in Rohingya camps is continuing as social distancing rules are being violated.”

Since the novel coronavirus was first reported in China last December, human rights bodies and experts have been warning over possible rapid spread of coronavirus in Bangladesh’s packed camps if once the virus is transmitted there. 

Bangladeshi authorities repeatedly assured wholeheartedly of preventive measures to stem the contagion in the camps.

In early May, Bangladeshi authorities towed more than 300 Rohingya to a remote silty islet, Bhasan Char, on the grounds of averting possible risks of coronavirus in camps.

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