Inclusive approach a must to contain coronavirus in Rohingya camps: ISCG

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 23:52, Mar 29,2020

 
 

The Inter Sector Coordination Group on Sunday stressed the need for taking an inclusive and coordinated approach to increase isolation and treatment capacities to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Rohingya camps and in the host communities in Cox’s Bazar district.  

No case of COVID-19 was reported so far in Rohingya camps, while there was one confirmed case in the local community in Cox’s Bazar, the ISCG, which includes UN agencies, and local, national and international NGOs working for the Rohingya people in Bangladesh and the host communities, said a press release. 

The victim was a Bangladeshi returnee from overseas.

Movements to the camps have been limited in an effort to decrease the risk of infection among the Rohingya population, while maintaining essential work.

Precautions were taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, including ensuring the mandatory 14-day quarantine of staff arriving from overseas in line with the recommendations of the Bangladesh government and the UN guidelines, in coordination with the offices of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, Cox’s Bazar district administration and civil surgeon.

Key messages on COVID-19 in Rohingya, Bengali and Burmese languages, as well as materials and communication tools, including information, education and communication services dedicated to people with disabilities were also distributed to raise awareness.

The ISCG also observed that Cox’s Bazar district has extremely limited capacities to provide intensive care treatment to complicated cases of COVID-19, a global pandemic.

Another major challenge is the limited mobile and internet connectivity, which was essential to preparedness and in saving lives in the Rohingya settlements and adjacent areas, it said.

ISCG senior coordinator Nicole Epting also stressed the need for avoiding discrimination among the Rohingya people and the host communities in extending the services.

‘While we fully understand the fears associated with the spread of the virus, discrimination cannot be the answer. COVID-19 does not discriminate between communities due to ethnicity, race, religion or language. The risk of getting infected by COVID-19 is the same for everyone,’ Nicole added.

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