Although COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the WHO, a small number of countries seem to have managed to avoid the virus. Most of them are islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Here we look at 10 of these nations and how they accomplished this.
Saint Helena is a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. To date it has only reported two cases of the virus, both of which have recovered. Rather than a complete shutdown, ships arriving are monitored and visitors must quarantine for 14 days.
Made up of 15 small islands, the Cook Islands initially closed its borders, restricting recreational boats and cruise ships upon which its tourist industry relies on. It has since started to allow travel from New Zealand with quarantine measures. To date only one case of the virus has been reported.
Tuvalu is a small country made up of three islands and six atolls located between Hawaii and Australia. The country very quickly closed its borders once the pandemic was declared, and imposed a mandatory quarantine. Despite reporting zero cases of infection, almost 11,000 vaccine doses have been administered.
The Pacific archipelago of Tonga has successfully warded off the virus by closing airports and restricting cruise ships. As well as this it imposed a strict national lockdown. Additionally, 36 of Tonga's 170 islands are uninhabited. Zero cases have been reported, with more than 80,000 doses of the vaccine administered.
Although it is a country in its own right, Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand, which has had one of the most successful COVID-19 policies in the world. Tokelau has no airport and is only accessible by small boat, so visitors to the country are limited. Despite this the government decided to close the borders in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, and they have remained shut ever since, resulting in zero cases of infection.
Despite only having around 50 inhabitants, the Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific Ocean have stopped all cruise ships and yachts from landing passengers here until March 2022. Supply vessels have been limited and now operate on a quarterly basis, reserved for essential items, Pitcairn Islanders and Government contracted workers only, with strict quarantine measures. As a result there have been no cases of COVID-19 so far.
North Korea has consistently reported zero cases of the virus, although experts have cast doubt on this due to its proximity to China and Russia, where infection rates have been high. However the country also imposed some of the world's toughest restrictions, closing its borders completely and imposing a national lockdown.
Nauru is the third smallest country in the world, and has managed to avoid the virus entering by keeping its borders closed. It also managed to administer the first dose of the vaccine to the entire adult population in just four weeks.
The Pacific country to the southwest of Hawaii closed its borders at the very start of the pandemic, and has announced they will remain closed until at least the end of 2021. As a result there have been no cases of infection yet.
Federated States of Micronesia
The Federated States of Micronesia are made up of more than 600 islands. All travel, whether by air or sea has been stopped since the pandemic began, and zero cases have been reported.
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