For months, aid agencies have feared the arrival of coronavirus in the world’s largest refugee settlement, the sprawling camps of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where about 855,000 people live in overcrowded and dirty conditions.
Now, the first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the nearby town, also named Cox’s Bazar. Aid workers worry that transmission into the camps is inevitable — and will result in a catastrophic outbreak.
Aid agencies are doing what they can to try to prevent or delay an outbreak and make preparations for when the wave hits. But the virus has overwhelmed the well-equipped health systems of wealthy Western and Asian countries, and officials know that Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, has no chance of responding to a rapid outbreak among one million refugees.
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