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Rohingya refugees wait in a relief distribution point at a Kutupalong refugee camp on March 24. Photo: Suzauddin Rubel/AFP via Getty Images

Kutupalong refugee camps in Bangladesh reported their first coronavirus cases on Thursday, per the humanitarian organization International Rescue Committee (IRC) and U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Why it matters: Public health experts view a major coronavirus outbreak in a refugee camp as a worst-case scenario, as conditions are overcrowded with residents sharing water and basic hygiene facilities.

  • Kutupalong is the largest refugee settlement in the world, with over 855,000 refugees and 444,000 locals in or around the camps, IRC said Thursday.

What's happening: A Rohingya refugee tested positive for the coronavirus in Kutupalong, as well as one person in the local host community, the UNHCR said. Both patients are under self-isolation and efforts to trace who they have come into contact with are underway, the agency said.

  • "Health facilities are already crowded and overwhelmed, without the sufficient equipment, health staff or physical space necessary to treat cases," Manish Agrawal, Bangladesh country director at the IRC, said in a Thursday press release.
  • "There's just not enough soap and water nor space for them to follow proper guidance to protect themselves from the disease," Agrawal said.
  • But, the U.N.'s Bangladesh refugee agency claims that health staff in the Cox's Bazar camp in the Kutupalong settlement was prepared to deal with the infections and had necessary personal protective equipment to respond.

Go deeper: Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon reports first coronavirus case

Go deeper

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Louisiana officials find "probable" Omicron case in cruise ship COVID outbreak — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy.
  4. World: U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 22, 2020 - World

South Korea reenters lockdown after spike in coronavirus infections

A coronavirus test being done in Seoul. Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea is shuttering nightclubs and churches and cancelling professional sports and large social gatherings after an uptick in COVID-19 infections, AP reports.

The state of play: Health Minister Park Neung-hoo enacted the new rules on Saturday after 332 new cases were confirmed. To date, South Korea has seen 17,002 confirmed coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins University. Most of the outbreak is centralized in Seoul, but it is spreading to major cities throughout the country. South Korea has consistently been one of the strictest countries on COVID-19 precautions.

  • Seoul was placed under stricter lockdown rules earlier this week.