When it comes to the Rohingya camps, the authorities continue to impose restrictions on internet access
Rohingya refugees in our country, who live under conditions where social distancing and other health guidelines are impossible to maintain, need creative solutions to keep the spread of Covid-19 in check, more so than the rest of the population.
One of the most powerful tools which we have been using to fight against the spread of the virus has been the internet, through which governments and other agencies have successfully raised awareness amongst the people and provided them with the knowledge necessary so that they may protect themselves.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the Rohingya camps, the authorities continue to impose restrictions on internet access, citing safety and security concerns, although the Rohingya can still make phone calls if necessary.
But what they need now more than before is internet access, which allows for a flow of information in a way that cannot be fulfilled by mere phone calls. The internet is crucial as a public health tool, as it remains one of the key components in contact tracing and facilitating other health and humanitarian services.
The health of the Rohingya and the spread of the coronavirus is not something that the authorities can take lightly. If there is a single case of Covid-19 in the refugee camps, due to the cramped nature of these places, the virus would spread like wildfire.
And with no internet to better understand how to prevent its spread, the Rohingya will suffer at a level unprecedented in the rest of the country.
It will only be a matter of time before the virus finds its way into the rest of the country’s population, and there will be no turning back.
That is a problem we cannot afford -- not after we have worked so hard to contain the spread of Covid-19 since early March.