In 2020, the world has gone into lockdown. As the COVID-19 virus spreads to virtually every community around the globe, more than a quarter of its citizens are living under some form of restricted movement. For migrants, refugees, and others for whom mobility is an essential, even a life-saving act, these restrictions pose particular risks. Border closures, internal movement restrictions, social distancing orders, and the economic implications of the closures of businesses and workplaces are all having specific and harmful effects on migrants and displaced persons. At the same time mobile populations have become even greater targets of suspicion, fear and hostility. In this lecture I consider the legacy of Elizabeth Colson’s work – her focus on careful, patient, attention to detail, her investigation of inequalities and social disruption, and her fascination with the creative ways that people respond to such challenges to explore how forced migration studies might help us to better understand the monumental implications of the coronavirus pandemic on communities involved or affected by migration and displacement.