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UNHCR Asia and the Pacific COVID-19 External Update (8 October 2021)

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9.8 million persons of concern

4.2 million refugees and asylum seekers

3.5 million internally displaced persons

158,000 returnees

2.3 million stateless persons


  • In Bangladesh, during the month of September, countering the increasing trend in previous months, a significant decrease was observed in the COVID-19 positivity and death rate in both the refugee camps and the host community in Cox’s Bazar district.

  • In Myanmar, despite declining positivity rates (7% as of 28 September), the COVID-19 situation remains a significant concern across the country. On 28 September, 1,630 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the country to over 461,000 – an increase of 16 per cent in the number of cases compared to the previous month.


  • On 13 September, the Islamic Republic of Iran set a new record in the number of daily vaccinations, with more than 1,590,200 individuals receiving the vaccine across the country over a period of 24 hours. As a result, over 230,000 refugees and undocumented Afghans have been vaccinated, in line with the inclusive approach of the Government that was announced in August. UNHCR continues to advocate for vaccine donations to Iran so that refugees and undocumented Afghans – who are amongst the most vulnerable in Iran – are not left behind.

  • On 28 September, the Humanitarian Buffer application for the Islamic Republic of Iran was approved by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, which will see 1.6 million doses being shipped to Iran free of charge in October 2021.

  • In Bangladesh, following the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations in August, refugees aged 55 years and above received their second dose in September. Of the 36,943 refugees who received their first dose, 33,386 refugees have now received both doses.

  • On 27 September, the Ministry of Health in Indonesia issued detailed instructions on COVID-19 vaccinations for refugees through a decree that allows refugees with UNHCR-issued identity documents to access the private sector vaccination scheme as well as the national COVID-19 vaccination scheme, provided that at least 70 per cent of the population in the area that refugees reside have received a first vaccination dose.

  • The Hong Kong SAR Government completed the roll-out of free COVID-19 vaccinations for all Unified Screening Mechanism claimants and refugees who had requested a vaccination. Vaccinated persons received a vaccination certificate in keeping with those issued to other Hong Kong residents.