These priorities will be achieved through new COVID-19 response activities, that were not foreseen or costed in the 2020 JRP:
Expanding the health response to COVID-19 for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis through a multisector effort.
• Surveillance and investigation of COVID-19 cases across Cox’s Bazar District, through support to the IECR field laboratory in Cox’s Bazar, which serves both Bangladeshis and Rohingya refugees, which currently operates at a capacity of up to 500 tests per day, with the objective of scaling up to some 1,000 tests per day.
• Support to 1,900 beds for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis, including establishment of 12 Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres (SARI ITCs) in and near the Rohingya settlements in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas, multi-sector support for 300 beds in nine existing Government health facilities in Ramu, Chakaria, Sadar Hospital, and the Upazila health complexes, and establishment of 1 new SARI ITC in Cox’s Bazar town to serve Bangladeshis in the District.
• Establishment of 5 quarantine and 20 isolation facilities in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas, with multi-sector support.
• Multi-sector support for up to 75,000 Rohingya refugee households providing for homebased care for COVID-19 patients, including dedicated support from Community Health Workers, and home deliveries of food, fuel, and non-food items, based on need.
• Preparation for safe and dignified burials, with multi-sector support.
Scaling up Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) on health, hygiene, protection and overall COVID-19 response efforts, and increasing the availability of water, sanitation and hygiene services for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis.
• Ramped up hygiene promotion, disinfection, and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure across the District, as well as increased distribution of soap and the installation of additional water points in the camps to enable handwashing.
• Use of radio and cable TV networks, loudspeakers, hand-held microphones and speakers, mosque loudspeakers, Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology, and community-led, community engagement initiatives to raise awareness on how people can keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 in camps and across the District, as well as strengthened rumour-tracking to address fears of testing and treatment, and complaints and feedback mechanisms.
Protecting older Rohingya refugees, who are vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19.
• Targeted support to 31,500 Rohingya refugees over 59-years old to enable them to reduce their exposure to the virus, given the increased risk of complications of COVID-19 for older persons, including where needed home deliveries of food, fuel, and additional non-food items, such as mats, blankets, mosquito nets, cloth masks, as well as the installation of handwashing stations outside their shelters. Other groups vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19, such as those with chronic illnesses, will be supported through the Health Sector.
Augmenting Government social safety nets for vulnerable Bangladeshis whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Food, cash assistance, and agricultural inputs for 949,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis across Cox’s Bazar District whose livelihoods have been disrupted by the pandemic. Food assistance will include High Energy Biscuits and in-kind food distribution to complement Government of Bangladesh programmes, along with other support aimed at reinforcing the social safety net through cash assistance and regenerating livelihoods and agriculture crop production, including bulk local production of cloth masks.
Scaling up critical common services to enable the humanitarian operation.
• Common storage, transport, connectivity and access for humanitarian staff.
• Establish staff health facilities to serve 6,500 humanitarian personnel, including frontline health workers who may fall sick with COVID-19, in order to ensure the viability and continuity of the operation, and the ability of humanitarian organisations to uphold their Duty of Care.
As well as continuing life-saving activities as included in the 2020 Joint Response Plan:
Sustaining critical services and assistance, with public health measures adapted to the context that aim at minimising COVID-19 transmission.
• Food Assistance for 860,000 refugee women, men, girls and boys; protection and nutrition services; site management; water and sanitation; and the distribution of non-food items, including fuel; and non-COVID-19 related essential health services for Rohingya refugees and vulnerable Bangladeshis in Ukhiya and Teknaf Upazilas over a nine-month period through the end of 2020; as well as support to families to provide education at home through appropriate technologies, while learning centres and schools are closed.
• Cyclone and monsoon preparedness and response, including emergency shelter and WASH activities, the distribution of food supplies, and essential infrastructure maintenance and repair.
• To minimize transmission and exposure, humanitarian partners have reduced their operational “footprint” and the presence of personnel in the camps and host communities been reduced. The delivery of all services and assistance has been adapted to ensure screening for symptoms and to observe physical distancing as far as possible, while also carrying out disinfection and making handwashing facilities available. Increasing rations has also allowed for a reduction in the frequency of distributions.