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Bangladesh locks down 5 Rohingya refugee camps near Myanmar border amid Covid-19 surge

Bangladesh locks down 5 Rohingya refugee camps near Myanmar border amid Covid-19 surge
Government officials in Bangladesh have announced that almost 100,000 people living in five Rohingya refugee camps near its southeastern border with Myanmar will be forced into lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

The camps in the Ukhia and Teknaf areas of the Cox’s Bazar district saw 45 out of 247 tests for the virus come back as positive on Thursday, government official Shamsud Douza said.

In the last week the district has seen 20 to 45 new Covid-19 patients every day, compared to just one or two cases daily a couple of months ago, according to Abu Toha, of the government’s Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC).

He said climbing case rates in the camps coincided with increased social contact between people as Rohingya Muslims observed the holy month of Ramadan, which ended on May 12.

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The new restrictions to curb infection rates mean residents of the camps are unable to leave the sites during lockdown except for essential reasons, such as buying medicine and food.

Around 1 million Rohingya refugees live in 34 camps in the region after fleeing violent oppression in neighboring Myanmar.

A total of 864 Covid-19 cases have been reported in the camps from approximately 41,500 tests, while there have been 13 deaths from the virus.

Less-stringent health measures have also been brought in for the rest of the 34 camps, according to local media.

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