The novel coronavirus has been detected in one of the southern Bangladesh camps that are home to more than a million Rohingya refugees, officials said on Thursday, as humanitarian groups warned the infection could devastate the crowded settlement.

An ethnic Rohingya refugee and another person have tested positive for COVID-19, a senior Bangladeshi official and a UN spokeswoman said. It was the first confirmed case in camps more densely populated than most crowded cities on Earth.

“Today they have been taken to an isolation centre after they tested positive,” Mahbub Alam Talukder, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, told Reuters by phone.

The other patient was from the “host population”, a term usually referring to local residents outside the camps, the UN spokeswoman said.

2:24Living in conflict zones during the COVID-19 pandemic

Living in conflict zones during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus infections have been gathering pace in recent days in Bangladesh, which has reported 18,863 cases of COVID-19 and 283 deaths.

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Aid workers have warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if there is a significant outbreak in the refugee camps outside Cox’s Bazar.

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