Still on the Hunt for Chinese Virus at Cox’s Bazar

Now, we are told, the reason so few cases have been reported at the world’s supposedly largest refugee camp in Bangladesh is that the residents fear they will be isolated if found to be infected and are therefore refusing testing.

I know this is likely boring for most of you, but since I started following the warnings of “catastrophe” and “carnage” as the Chinese Virus spread “like wildfire” to camps where “vulnerable” migrants live in close proximity to each other, I’m compelled to give you updates.

Literally for months there have been dire predictions of the impending crisis, that has not yet materialized.

Only one death of an old man so far as I said here on Wednesday.

Here is the latest from Reuters:

Fear stops Rohingya getting tested as virus hits refugee camps

BANGKOK/DHAKA (Reuters) – Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh with symptoms of the novel coronavirus are not coming forward to get tested because they fear being separated from their families and held in isolation, community leaders and aid workers say.

Only one death from the coronavirus has been recorded in the crowded camps in southeast Bangladesh, where some 730,000 Muslim Rohingya fled in 2017 to escape a military crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Yale Economics Professor Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak visited the camp and told Reuters he is sure the disease prevalence is much higher than testing so far indicates. https://faculty.som.yale.edu/mushfiqmobarak/

But aid workers fear the coronavirus may be spreading faster through the world’s largest refugee settlement than the 29 cases confirmed since mid-May would indicate. Only 339 tests have been carried out in the camps, officials said, partly because people were simply not going to health facilities to get checked.

Camp hospitals are empty and illegal doctors’ shops are full,” said 23-year-old refugee Mujef Khan, a community organiser, referring to pharmacies in the camps run by refugees where people buy pills to treat themselves.

“Many people are getting sick day by day – in every shelter,” he said.

Three Rohingya leaders interviewed by Reuters said coronavirus symptoms were prevalent in the camps that sprawl out over hills near the border with Myanmar.

The camps are more densely populated than the most crowded cities and sanitation is poor and social distancing impossible. [This will be the ultimate test in my opinion of whether social distancing matters or not!—ed]

While new testing facilities and treatment centres are being built, a surge in cases could overwhelm the camps, aid workers said.

Much more here.

I guess if they aren’t bothering to be tested, they aren’t that sick.  However, they won’t be able to hide the deaths and so we will then get a better indication if the “tinderbox” has exploded as the media has been predicting literally for months!

I have been writing about the Rohingya for nearly 13 years.  You need to know they are being resettled in the United States right now.  See my Rohingya Reports category to learn more about this Muslim ethnic group.

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