All around the world, the numbers are climbing. Each day registers thousands of new cases and lives lost.
In Europe, now the epicentre of the pandemic, governments know that the worst is yet to come and are implementing increasingly restrictive measures to enforce social distancing and isolation.
In Cox’s Bazaar, we have been watching the world and holding our breath for the first confirmed case of Covid-19.
With reports of the first confirmed case in the local community in Cox’s Bazaar, it’s just a matter of time until the virus reaches the vulnerable population living in cramped conditions in the largest refugee settlement on earth. Thousands of people could die.
One million Rohingya refugees, half of whom are children, have been sheltering in sprawling camps in Cox’s Bazaar since August 2017, when they were forced to flee their homes in the face of horrific violence.
For almost three years, Rohingya refugees have been telling us they want to go home and resume normal life. They want their children to go to school and for families separated by the conflict to be reunited.
So far, international attempts to hold Myanmar accountable for alleged crimes against the Rohingya and improve conditions in Rakhine state have failed spectacularly. In short, it will be years until the Rohingya see justice.
As global life grinds to a halt in a bid to contain the coronavirus, we must remember that for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, their lives have already been in limbo for years; it is their status quo, and it will not end with the containment of coronavirus.