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Fear grips Rohingya as Covid-19 cases surge in Myanmar

Conflict-torn Rakhine state is now the country's coronavirus hotspot

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Fear grips Rohingya as Covid-19 cases surge in Myanmar

Rohingya refugees play soccer in Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh, on Aug. 26. (Photo: AFP)

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In the port city of Sittwe in western Myanmar, residents did not expect a local coronavirus outbreak as they went about their normal business, not wearing masks and with little fear over the deadly virus a week ago.

But now there is great unease as more than 100 new cases were confirmed within 24 hours including 99 in Rakhine state, the highest recorded surge so far, bringing the total to 586 across the country, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.

The number of confirmed cases in Rakhine had surged to 184 as of Aug. 27 and the infected include young children, healthcare workers and the elderly.

In the wake of surging locally transmitted cases, authorities have expanded the lockdown to all of Rakhine and urged people to stay at home to contain the spread of Covid-19.

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