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Bangladesh extends lockdown to May 30 after spike in cases

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Bangladesh extends lockdown to May 30 after spike in cases

Bangladesh lockdown in Dhaka
Photo: AFP

Bangladesh was supposed to end its lockdown today, but restrictions have instead been extended until May 30. As cases continue to increase this month, the country is likely to further extend its lockdown through June.

The first COVID-19 case has been detected in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp, the largest refugee camp in the world, located on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. There is now serious risk of a major humanitarian crisis. Lockdown measures isolated the camps for their own safety from infected outside communities, but also cut humanitarian aid to refugees by 80%, exacerbating food and water supply issues.

The Bangladeshi government is already struggling to combat the health crisis—nearly all medical facilities are overwhelmed—and it has turned to international support for additional resources to try and prevent a disaster. The International Rescue Committee has pledged 1,700 beds to Rohingya refugees and UNICEF has started converting medical treatment centres into patient facilities to aid the Bangladesh government.

In such cramped conditions, sanitary measures are severely inadequate, and social distancing is impossible, making an outbreak all but inevitable. If not contained properly, the camps could be the epicentre of an outbreak in the surrounding regions.

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