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The notion of social distancing is almost impossible in the world’s biggest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, on Bangladesh’s South-East coast. Up to 90,000 people live on one square kilometre of land, making it one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. While many countries ease COVID-19 restrictions, infections are only now slowly starting to spread inside the camp. Two people have died and 38 cases have been confirmed. As the virus spreads, families living in tents and shacks are put into lockdown. As some nations still quibble about whether masks should be compulsory, in Cox’s Bazar there simply aren’t enough to go around.

“We can’t maintain social distance in camp, because we live very close to each other, so it will spread everywhere in camp.”

Testing for the virus has been limited, which means the real number of cases is likely to be higher than what’s so far been reported. Doctors working at the camp said testing is set to increase in coming days. “In the Rohingya refugee camps, the COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis within a crisis,” Dr Robert Lukwata from the non-profit organisation Food for The Hungry said.

“We have already been devastated by the effects of the high population density in the camp. The sanitary and wash facilities have been quite challenging.

“Now, when the COVID situation came in, it has increased the health risks and the vulnerability of the Rohingya refugees within the camp.

“As humanitarians, we try to encourage the people to do as much as possible social distancing, but we are also aware it is one of the most difficult things to do in this context and it’s quite a challenge for the interventions put in place to prevent the disease from spreading in the camps.”

Source: ABC.NET