Bangladesh has begun lockdown in all 34 Rohingya refugee settlements in the country’s southern district of Cox’s Bazar as part of its effort to stem coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities have asked more than one million members of the persecuted Rohingya community, who have migrated from Myanmar’s Rakhine province, to stay inside their makeshift camps until further notice.
“Since this morning [Wednesday] we have started s lockdown in all Rohingya camps as per guidelines issued by the government due to the prevailing scare over coronavirus outbreak,” said Md Mahbub Alam Talukder, Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC).
Citing the global spread of coronavirus Talukder told Anadolu Agency: “It will be a very difficult job for us to control the situation if coronavirus spreads in the crowded Rohingya camps.”
He said it was because of this fear that we are asking Rohingya to stay home. “We are fully aware and urge them [Rohingya] to stay home and not move except for emergency needs,” he said.
According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre, Bangladesh has so far reported 39 cases of coronavirus with five deaths. Thousands of others have been kept under home quarantine to stem the spread of the lethal virus.
Assuring continuation of emergency services despite lockdown Talukdar said that his office has pleaded for the restoration of internet services in the Rohingya camps.
“Already a letter from Foreign Ministry has been sent to Home Ministry, seeking resumption of internet services in the Rohingya camps,” he said, adding that the services will be restored in the shortest possible time.