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Bangladesh Red Crescent Society - Population Movement Operation (PMO), Cox's Bazar, Monthly Situation Report 59, April 2020

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Context Analysis

In April 2020, the transmission of COVID-19 increased exponentially, spreading in all 64 districts across Bangladesh. In order to better respond to the outbreak in Cox’s Bazar and the likely transmission in the camps, it was reported that 11 separate isolation centres with 1,900 beds in the camps will be ready for the displaced people in Ukhia and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. Of these, 234 beds have been fully prepared. However, insufficient testing kits, skilled medical staff, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supply chains for the frontline health workers, and restricted telecommunications in the Camp Settlements have been major challenges during the month. Pressure was also mounting on the government to allow an influx of people from Myanmar waiting in the Bangladesh sea territory. Hundreds of people from the Rakhine state of Myanmar have been stranded in the Bay of Bengal. Some entered the Bangladesh sea area in Teknaf, while others were waiting to anchor off. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) requested that boats of around 500 people be allowed in but this was initially refused by the government. More recent reports indicate that some people from Rakhine have been rescued from the Bay of Bengal and taken to Bhasan Char island for the foreseeable future, beyond the standard 14-day COVID-19 quarantine period.