Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by conflict in Myanmar face a health “catastrophe” from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, a rights group warned, as international calls grow for an end to fighting.
Overcrowded camps with an estimated 350,000 people were “Covid-19 tinderboxes”, Human Rights Watch said.
Myanmar has 16 confirmed infections and one death, but experts say the lack of testing and poor health infrastructure mean the true figure is likely far higher in the impoverished country, long wracked by ethnic and religious violence.
Eighteen ambassadors to Myanmar — including from the United States, Britain and European Union — issued a joint statement Wednesday saying they were “deeply concerned”, and called for an end to fighting in the country.
The focus must be on “protecting the most vulnerable communities from the devastating impacts of COVID-19”, they said.