As of 19 October 2020, more than 2.15 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Bangladesh, of which 390,206 people tested positive. There are currently 110 COVID-19 labs across the country, and more than 60 per cent of tests are completed in Dhaka. The highest percentage of confirmed cases is found among the age group 31-40 years old (26.7%).
In the last two weeks, three international days of significance were celebrated in the camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar – World Mental Health Day on 10 October, International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction on 13 October, and World Hand Washing Day on 15 October. Hand washing remains one of the key preventative measures in the fight against COVID-19 and this year’s theme was, ‘hand hygiene for all’. Communities in the district are all too familiar with disaster risk reduction as Cox’s Bazar is a low-lying coastal area prone to flooding, landslides, and storm surge during the annual monsoon and cyclone seasons. On the designated day, IOM-trained DRR volunteers supported staff to organize awareness-raising events in refugee and host communities.
The mental health and psychosocial support (MPHSS) teams arranged a week-long series of community engagement activities to mark World Mental Health Day. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out more than ever, how mental health is integral to the overall well-being of migrants and refugees across the world. In the camps for Rohingya refugees and in host communities in the district, IOM has stepped up services to support people that are struggling with added anxiety brought on by the pandemic.