Specific causes are not found as to how Rohingya people at Ukhiya’s Lombashia camp are infected with coronavirus.

Local upazila administration and law enforcers said the Rohingyas may be infected through a section of workers of trucks from cornovirus-hit districts Dhaka, Chattogram and Narayanganj.

Civil surgeon Mahbubur Rahman told Prothom Alo that the authorities could not trace how the Rohingyas got infected. The infected persons are unable to clearly say how they contracted the virus.

"They may be contracted the virus through community transmission," he added.


Five Rohingyas including 2 women have so far been found coronavirus positive. On Sunday, a young woman in Ukhiya’s Lombashia camp tested coronaviurs positive. Four more residents of the camp, including an 8-year-old girl, earlier tested positive.

Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner's (RRRC) chief health coordinator Abu Toha MRH Bhuiya told Prothom Alo that 5,500 more Rohingya people of 1,260 families in Lombashia W-2 camp were home quarantined on Sunday. Earlier, over five thousand people were quarantined at F-block of the camp.

RRRC has taken strict measures so that no one of the camp go out, he added.

This correspondent has talked to stakeholders including officials of local health department, upazila administration, law enforcers and leaders of Rohingya community. They have identified three possible ways of transmission of coronavirus among the Rohingyas.

Firstly, goods-laden trucks from worst affected districts such as Dhaka, Chattogram and Narayanganj enter Rohingya camps every day. Some Rohingyas unload goods from those trucks and come in contact with truck drivers and assistants of drivers. That might expose local camp residents to the virus.

Upazila nirbahi officer of Ukhiya Nikaruzzaman Chowdhury thinks the coronavirus might spread among the camp residents through truck drivers, assistants of drivers or outsiders.

Secondly, some Rohigyas go out of the camp at night for shopping at Ukhiya and Teknaf. Some local people also enter camps. Mixing of residents of camps and host community people can be a reason of transmission of the virus.

RRRC chief health coordinator Abu Toha MRH Bhuiya said residents of camps and local people come in contact at local markets as some Rohingyas sneak out of the camps at night.

Thirdly, the coronaviurs might also get transmitted to the Rohingyas through volunteers of different non-government organisations working in refugee camps. Over 30 thousand volunteers of around 140 local and international organisations are currently working in camps. Some of them who frequently visit the camps also regularly visit Dhaka, Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar. The virus can be transmitted by them too. Three NGO officials have so far contracted the virus.

Co-chairman of CCAF, an alliance of 52 NGOs, Abu Morshed Chowdhury said the authorities have restricted the activities of NGOs due to coronavirus but they are not monitoring the people who are still visiting the camps.