Cox’s Bazar (Bangladesh), AFP. Bangladesh has declared a complete lockdown in Cox’s Bazar district with more than one lakh Rohingya refugees to prevent the spread of the corona virus.
Experts have warned that where persecuted Muslim minorities are living, the corona virus may spread rapidly. Because where these people are living there is neither sewage facility and people are living in houses made of canvas and bamboo.
Officials say that no cases have been confirmed in these camps at the moment, but a patient infected with the corona virus has been found at some distance from there. More than 200 cases have been reported across the country in the last five days. While 20 people have died. In view of this, the authorities ordered a lockdown in the district from late Wednesday.
According to the directive, ‘the area will be placed under full lockdown. Until the situation improves, no one will be allowed to enter or exit. The main road in the district with a population of more than 30 lakhs, including Rohingya refugees, has been closed by police and troops and is being patrolled in and around the camps on Thursday.
Refugee Commissioner Mehboob Alam Talukdar told AFP that only emergency food supplies and medical services will remain operational. He said that anyone with a history of foreign travel would not be allowed to enter the camp until they had completed a quarantine.
After the military crackdown in 2017, over 7,40,000 Rohingya crossed the Myanmar border and settled in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, where around 2 lakh refugees were already residing. Rights groups and activists have expressed concern that these camps have become hotspots due to misinformation about the Corona epidemic due to an internet ban imposed last September.
Amnesty International has warned that because of the restrictions, even basic information about the corona virus has not reached the refugees living in these camps. At the same time, the refugee commissioner said that his office had asked Dhaka to lift internet restrictions.