Afghanistan + 13 more

UNHCR Asia and the Pacific COVID-19 External Update (20 May 2020)


9.2 million Persons of concern

4.4 million Refugees and Asylum seekers

2.9 million Internally displaced persons

83,930 Returnees

2.3 million Stateless persons


The past week saw the first reported cases of COVID-19 in the Rohingya refugee community in the camps around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Those who tested positive are currently receiving treatment in MSF facilities. Government and WHO rapid investigation teams are carrying out contact tracing and quarantining of refugees.

UNHCR’s COVID-19 isolation and treatment centers in two camp locations will be completed this week. UNHCR Bangladesh has received information of another boat offshore seeking to land in the Teknaf area. With the approaching cyclone, seawaters are getting rough, placing boats at sea at severe risk. UNHCR has renewed the offer to support the safe quarantine of refugees in the camps, instead of Bhasan Char, where 306 Rohingya refugees have already been taken.

A serious attack occurred on the MSF maternity hospital in Kabul on 12 May, reportedly killing 24 mothers, children, and hospital personnel. There are concerns that this may discourage individuals from going to medical facilities for COVID-19 testing and treatment. This is especially concerning for Afghan women, who already face difficulties in accessing medical services for a variety of reasons, including limitations on movements outside the home and limited availability of female medical personnel.