In December 2019, when we heard about a dangerous virus in China, little did we know that very soon it will bring the world to a standstill. A few weeks later, however, it had become a global pandemic.
The virus, which results in a respiratory disease that can be spread from droplets of body fluids such as mucus and saliva-has now been identified in at least 188 countries.
The emergence of the coronavirus took us all by surprise, and more troubling is the pace at which it has spread all over the world.
But what if you were told that there are countries in the world that have managed to escape the fearful grip of the virus? Well, there are and let’s know them.
Only 12 countries have not reported any COVID-19 cases as of July 19, 2020. Belonging to Oceania, several of these countries are Pacific Island nations.
1. North Korea
This country in Asia has a population of 25.79 million and was the first country to close its borders. The country is ruled by the controversial Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. China, Russia and South Korea are its neighboring countries.
As China’s neighbor, the country closed its borders on January 21 and hasn’t since reopened. It then introduced restrictive steps for those arriving in the country (foreigners and nationals) including quarantine for one or two months.
Although the North Korean authorities record zero reports, it is curious how the nearest neighbor of China escaped the virus.
Turkmenistan, an Asian country with a population of 6.03 million. It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Afghanistan. The nation’s president is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.
All its neighboring countries have confirmed coronavirus infections. Most of the land borders were closed by the end of May, and all flights to and from China were canceled among others, in early February itself
There are claims that the official reports do not quite match the actual numbers. The news that Turkmenistan supposedly “banned” the word Coronavirus, although this was not necessarily accurate, was also brought to media attention.
3. The Solomon Islands
The Solomon Islands is a sovereign state consisting of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lying to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. It has a population of 0.653 million.
The Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy and has a parliamentary system of government. As Queen of Solomon Islands, Elizabeth II is head of state and is represented by Governor-General Frank Kabui.
The Solomon Islands is among the world’s least-visited countries. You can conveniently access it with direct flights from nearby countries like Australia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
Like with other Pacific Island countries, since early February, the Solomon Islands have required a medical certificate to allow entry. Travelers entering from infected countries needed quarantine for 14 days.
Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers and offers scuba diving at coral reefs and underwater caverns.
It has a population of 0.293 million and its current president is Tallis Obed Moses.
Vanuatu has no confirmed cases, and has introduced stringent policies for those coming from overseas since February. Anyone traveling from infected countries has to submit a medical certificate.
It is an island country in Oceania with a population of 0.196 million. The Prime Minister of Samoa island is Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.
Since March 25th Samoa has been in lockdown.
There remains a state of emergency, and all international travel to and from the country has been suspended.
Kiribati, officially the Republic of Kiribati, is a country in the central Pacific Ocean and belongs to Oceania. It has a permanent population of 0.116 million people.
Taneti Maamau is the incumbent President of the Republic of Kiribati
There are no cases reported in Kiribati but it continues to be in a state of national emergency. Schools and other institutions have remained closed in the country since March 30.
7. Federated States of Micronesia
Also belonging to Oceania, the Federated States of Micronesia is a country spread across the western Pacific Ocean comprising more than 600 islands. Its population is 0.113 million.
In early February itself, Micronesia was swift to enforce travel bans including a complete ban on those traveling from China and Chinese nationals.
Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than 170 South Pacific islands, many uninhabited, most lined in white beaches and coral reefs and covered with tropical rainforest in Oceania. It has a small population of just 0.103 million people. Its Head of state is King George Tupou VI.
Since February, Tonga has been strict with travel rules and closed its borders to foreigners, allowing only foreigners to leave on flights back to their own country. Though 8 suspected cases were tested, all came back negative.
9. The Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines and has a population of around just 60,000.
It ceased all its international flight operations on 21st March.
With a population of 18,094, Palau a country in Oceania is an archipelago of over 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. Thomas Remengesau has been the president of the Republic of Palau since 2013.
Previously, after traveling from Guam, there was one person under investigation for having coronavirus, but he tested negative. Currently, there are no cases of coronavirus at Palau.
Tuvalu, a country in Oceania is an independent island nation within the British Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the state.
Also regarded as one of the least-visited countries in the world, Tuvalu sees less than 200 visitors annually. This has probably been a massive help in preventing an outbreak along a very small population (11,793) in this country.
The tiny island country in Micronesia, northeast of Australia features a coral reef and white-sand beaches fringed with palms.
With a population of just 10,823, Nauru is such a small country that you can travel around in one day and has also managed to remain clear of coronavirus. It holds the distinction, along with Tuvalu, for being one of the world’s least-visited countries. Currently, Lionel Aingimea serves as the President of Nauru.
A smaller population, strict implementation of restrictions and timely actions seems to have played a vital role in helping these countries to keep the coronavirus infection at bay.
Note: The data provided in the article are self-declared by these nations and have not been verified by any organizations such as the WHO.