Bangladesh has confirmed the first coronavirus death among the nearly one million Rohingyas living in the country’s overcrowded refugee camps.
Bangladesh health official Toha Bhuiyan told reporters the victim was a 71-year-old man who died Saturday at an isolation center on Cox’s Bazar. The man was among 29 Rohingya refugees who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.
The Bangladesh government and aid agencies have established several isolation centers to treat the coronavirus patients. Humanitarian agencies have warned for weeks of a potentially huge outbreak among the refugees, who live shoulder-to-shoulder with no ability to maintain a healthy distance.
More than 700,000 Rohingyas living in the Cox’s Bazar camps crossed over from neighboring Myanmar to escape a brutal, scorched-earth military campaign against them in 2017 that the United Nations described as ethnic cleansing — involving mass rapes, killings and torching of homes. Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not consider the Rohingya citizens, despite the fact they have lived in the country for generations.