These Countries Have Yet to Report a Confirmed Case of COVID-19
As of Tuesday, April 7, over 1.3 million people from over 200 countries and territories have been stricken with the coronavirus. The worldwide death toll is nearing 75,000.
It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of the year, the virus was confined only in China.
Today, the coronavirus crisis is the textbook definition of a pandemic. But are there places in the world that have yet to report a case of COVID-19?
The short answer is yes, but perhaps, not for long.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, there are 16 countries and territories that are still COVID-free as of Tuesday, April 7. These are:
4| Marshall Islands
7| North Korea
10| Solomon Islands
The most recent countries to report cases of the coronavirus are Sao Tome and Principe, which now has four, and South Sudan, which has one.
According to the BBC, experts say that some of these countries, like North Korea and Yemen, may already have cases but remain unreported.
But as is evident in the list, many of those that are still free of COVID-19 cases are island-nations that do not attract a lot of visitors.
The Pacific island nation of Nauru, for example, recorded just 160 tourists last year.
So it remains fortunate that it has yet to record a positive case of COVID-19.
"The very isolation of small populations across a big ocean, which has always been a problem for them, has come to be a protection," Dr. Colin Tukuitonga a public health expert and a former World Health Organization commissioner, told the BBC.
But evidence suggests that the coronavirus will eventually make it to every country on earth. So the question is, where might be the last place on earth that will catch COVID-19?
"It’s likely to be those South Pacific, very remote islands, I would put my money on that," the BBC quotes Andy Tatem, a professor in spatial demography and epidemiology at the University of Southampton.
"Most of these countries rely on some kind of importation from outside, whether it's food or goods or tourism, or exporting their own goods,” he adds. “It's possible they can lock down completely, but it will be damaging—and they'll have to open up eventually."