UK International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said they are strongly committed to helping Bangladesh and the Rohingya people through this devastating crisis.
She came on a virtual visit to Bangladesh on Wednesday and saw how UK aid is working with the government of Bangladesh to tackle coronavirus in the country.
The UK has dedicated at least £21 million to tackle coronavirus in Bangladesh, where 120,000 cases have been reported.
"No one is safe until everyone is safe – and we are committed to helping Bangladesh and the #Rohingya people through this devastating crisis," she tweeted.
On a ‘virtual visit’ to Bangladesh, a first for a UK Minister, Trevelyan met with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and also saw how UK-backed isolation and treatment centres will help protect Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities in Cox’s Bazar from the pandemic.
Its support will save lives by slowing the rapid spread of the disease and boosting struggling health services.
During the virtual visit, Trevelyan talked to the staff of BRAC, an NGO which has mobilised 50,000 community health workers with UK aid support to reach more than five million Bangladeshi people in remote, deprived communities, giving them public health information about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus and stay safe.
Trevelyan visited, via a video call, the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, where social distancing is near impossible due to the cramped conditions.
UK aid is supporting the construction of vital isolation and treatment centres (ITCs) in Cox’s Bazar, making available over 600 beds for treating both Rohingya and people from Bangladeshi communities, who develop severe acute respiratory infections due to contracting coronavirus.
“Coronavirus is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. UK aid is committed to helping Bangladesh and the Rohingya people through this devastating crisis," said Trevelyan.
She said she saw the incredible international work across the country and in Cox’s Bazar to stop the spread of coronavirus and improve healthcare. "The UK is proud to play our role, so we can help save lives and protect those in need."
Trevelyan said she is grateful to the Government and the people of Bangladesh for their extraordinary generosity and support for the Rohingya refugees.
She said the UK will continue to work with the government of Bangladesh, 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.
The International Development Secretary spoke with Sarah Collis, the team leader of the UK Emergency Medical Team, which is working alongside Bangladeshi medics and the International Organisation for Migration to setup the ITCs and respond to cases in the camps.
She also saw the World Food Programme’s emergency food response to the pandemic, backed by UK aid, which is helping to meet the basic food needs of 100,000 Rohingya refugees and helping 53,000 of the most vulnerable Bangladeshis living around the camps to cope with the crippling economic impact of the pandemic.
Trevelyan met with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr Momen, MP and committed to continue UK support to Bangladesh for the fight against coronavirus.
The British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson said the coronavirus outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on people’s health, livelihoods, and mobility in Bangladesh.
“The virtual visit allowed the Secretary of State to see the breadth and depth of UK support for the country, and underlined the UK’s strong commitment to Bangladesh in the face of the coronavirus challenge," he said.