The first known Covid-19 cases have been confirmed in Bangladesh's refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, the United Nations said on Thursday, citing the Bangladeshi government.
The camps at Cox's Bazar are home to nearly a million Rohingya refugees, many of whom fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence in neighboring Myanmar.
One of the confirmed cases was a Rohingya refugee, and the other was a Bangladeshi citizen who lives in the surrounding area of the camps, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.
Bangladesh currently has at least 18,863 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 283 deaths, a tally from Johns Hopkins University shows.
Government response: The Bangladeshi government suspended most of the services within the densely populated camps in late March, including educational programs and other advocacy work.
Health officials have now begun to treat both patients while isolating and testing other refugees in the camps, the agency said.
Covid in the camps is "a nightmare": “The first positive case of Covid-19 in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh is the realization of a nightmare scenario,” said Daniel P. Sullivan, a senior advocate for human rights with the US-based organization Refugees International.
“In addition, the prevalence of underlying health conditions among refugees and the deteriorating sanitary conditions sure to come with the looming monsoon and flooding season make for a witch’s brew of conditions in which the virus is sure to thrive," Sullivan added.
Sullivan also stressed the importance of the Bangladeshi government’s efforts to ensure open communication as well as more medical resources within the refugee camp to prevent and prepare for further spread.
CNN has reached out to the Bangladeshi government for a comment.