The UK commits to helping Bangladesh, Rohingyas amid pandemic

The United Kingdom (UK) now reiterated its commitment to give support to Bangladesh and forcibly displaced Rohingyas, sheltered in the country in this unique crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coronavirus is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. The UK aid is committed to helping Bangladesh and the Rohingya people through this devastating crisis,” stated Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who is the International Development Secretary of the UK.

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Trevelyan made the statement while paying a ‘virtual visit’ to Bangladesh, a first for a UK Minister, to observe how the UK aid is working with the government of Bangladesh to tackle coronavirus in the country.

Through the virtual visit, via video calls, Trevelyan met Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen and also witnessed how UK-backed isolation and treatment centers could protect the host community and Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During her meeting with Momen, she expressed the British government’s commitment to continue support to Bangladesh for the fight against coronavirus.

The UK has dedicated at least £21 million to tackle coronavirus in Bangladesh, where 120,000 cases have been reported, said the release.

“I saw the incredible international work across the country and in Cox’s Bazar to stop the spread of coronavirus and improve healthcare,” said the UK secretary.

The UK will continue to work with the Bangladesh government, international partners and the UN Security Council to enable the Rohingyas to return home to Rakhine in a safe, dignified and voluntary manner, and to support them until that is possible, she said.

Trevelyan also praised the government and the people of Bangladesh for their exceptional generosity and support for the Rohingyas.

The UK aid is supporting the construction of vital isolation and treatment centers (ITCs) in Cox’s Bazar, offering available over 600 beds for treating both Rohingyas and Bangladeshi people from local communities, who develop severe acute respiratory infections due to contracting coronavirus.

The International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan talked with Sarah Collis, who is the team leader of the UK Emergency Medical Team, which is working beside Bangladeshi medics and the International Organisation for Migration to set up the ITCs and respond to cases in the Rohingya camps. She also saw the World Food Programme’s emergency food response to the pandemic, backed by the UK aid.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson told the virtual visit supported the Secretary of State to see the breadth and depth of the UK support for the country and underlined the UK’s strong commitment to Bangladesh in the face of the coronavirus challenge.

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