First coronavirus death reported at Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh

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An elderly Rohingya refugee has become the first person to die from coronavirus in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh, where there are fears the disease could spread fast due to overcrowding.

The 71-year-old man died on May 31 while undergoing treatment at an isolation center at the camps where over a million Rohingya live, said Bimal Chakma, a senior official of the government’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission.

“Today we got the confirmation that he tested positive for COVID-19,” he told Reuters by telephone.

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Aid workers have long warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a major outbreak at the camps in the Cox’s Bazar coastal district. The Rohingya, members of a mostly Muslim minority, fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar.

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At least 29 Rohingya have tested positive for the virus so far since the first case was detected on May 14.

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Officials said 339 tests have been conducted among Rohingya in the camps so far.

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“We are living in fear about what we are going to do if there is a big outbreak,” Rohingya refugee Mohammed Rafiq said by phone.

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