18 countries without Coronavirus

There have now been more than one million Covid-19 cases worldwide, in countries from Nepal to Nicaragua. But as the death tolls rise, and the hospitals overflow, is anywhere still coronavirus-free?

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is yes.

There are 193 countries which are members of the United Nations.

As of 2 April, 18 countries had not reported a Covid-19 case, according to a BBC tally using data from Johns Hopkins University.

The 18 countries without Covid-19 are: Comoros; Kiribati; Lesotho; Marshall Islands; Micronesia; Nauru; North Korea; Palau; Samoa; Sao Tome and Principe; Solomon Islands; South Sudan; Tajikistan; Tonga; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Vanuatu and Yemen.

Some, experts agree, are likely to have unreported cases. North Korea, for example, is officially on zero, as is war-torn Yemen.

But there are countries where the virus has not landed. Most are small islands with few visitors – in fact, seven of the world’s 10 least-visited places, as per UN data, are free of Covid-19.

That remoteness means one thing: in this age of social-distancing rules, island nations are the original self-isolators.

But the president of one such place is not complacent. In fact, he said Covid-19 was already a national emergency, such as the beautiful island of Nauru.

Nauru, in the Pacific Ocean, is almost 320km from anywhere – Banaba Island, part of Kiribati, is the nearest land. The nearest “major” city with direct flights is Brisbane, 4023km south-west.

It is the second-smallest UN state in terms of land (after Monaco) and, with just over 10,000 people, the second-smallest in terms of population (after Tuvalu).

It is also one of the least-visited places on Earth. Although it does not appear in the most recent UN data, one tour operator says the country has just 160 tourists a year.

By: Sara Colin

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