Afghanistan + 13 more

UNHCR Asia and the Pacific COVID-19 External Update (27 May 2020)

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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

Overview

A week after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed, there are now 25 confirmed cases among refugees in Kutupalong camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and 369 among the host community. 139 refugees are in quarantine, with ongoing contact tracing, though limited to family contacts. Contact tracing is being expanded beyond immediate families/households through community engagement. No refugee or host community case has required ICU care yet. The number of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh has more than doubled over the past two weeks to 35,585.

UNHCR opened two isolation and treatment facilities last week with a total of 200 beds. The total capacity provided by humanitarian actors will reach 1,100 beds by mid-June, contributing towards the goal of a minimum 1,900 beds in Cox’s Bazar District. Modelling projections, however, indicate that as many as 10,000 hospital beds could be needed at peak. Community health care has been strengthened by recruitment of additional community health workers who will support home-based care of mild/moderate COVID-19 cases should the health facilities be overwhelmed. Testing is being undertaken for all adults with respiratory symptoms who accept being quarantined/isolated, in addition to those who present with symptoms and signs meeting the COVID-19 case definition. Community surveillance of deaths from all causes is being strengthened; so far, there has not been an increasing trend.

Across the region, UNHCR is seeking innovative opportunities to enhance communication and engagement with its persons of concern. Several initiatives are being developed, considered, or piloted in the region, including the WhatsApp Chatbot (with Turn.io) and the “MyUNHCR” platform.