COVID- 19, aka corona 2019, will be the most well-known disease in the world for many years to come. The pandemic is nearing 3.7 million confirmed cases in the world and more than 260,000 deaths as the situation is worsening for many countries like Russia, USA and India. However, countries like New Zealand and the birth place of the virus, China are slowly recovering. New Zealand recorded zero new cases on Monday (4th May) since the virus entered the country. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardem states that their ‘go hard, go early,’ strategy and the closed borders helped them fight the pandemic.
Amidst the virus being declared as a pandemic and some countries recovering, there are 13 countries in the world which has recorded zero cases up until now. Countries with zero patients are North Korea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Out of these 13 countries, Solomon Islands, Palau, Samoa and Tonga has shown deep concern with regards to the virus entering the countries. One of the reasons why these countries have not been affected by the virus is that the high remoteness of their location. But due to this remoteness, these countries have a low level of wealth as they attract less tourist which lead to a weak health infrastructure. Most countries are capable of fighting a pandemic as they have educated medical parties and other facilities to fight a sickness. However, the lack of a good health department makes these countries extremely vulnerable dangerous.
Vanuatu has implemented hand washing stations in many parts of the country as sanitary measures to keep its citizens protected. Most restaurants and fast food outlet owners have expressed their concern on the risk to their businesses as people have begun staying indoors. The owners state that they have their shops open only from 4.30pm to 7.30pm only for takeaway but not for dining.
The most well-known country on the list is North Korea which is led by its leader Kim Jong Un. Although the country has not confirmed any confirmed cases of the virus yet, external parties and foreign analysts believe the pandemic has spread to the country. Reports show that the North Korean government has taken extensive measures like quarantine and being one of the first countries to close borders and impose travel restrictions to keep its citizens protected. These measures have been shown to be successful as the virus does not seem to have spread in the country because if not, due to the country’s poverty and low health infrastructure, the virus would have caused massive destruction.
Furthermore, another country suspected for hiding cases from the virus is Turkmenistan. Being a country from Central Asia, Turkmenistan government has been known for censoring information regarding the country. Most residents at Turkmenistan are even afraid of suggesting the virus is in the country as they would ‘get in trouble.’ But those actions could have been taken by the government to eliminate panic in the country. Amidst the finger pointing from the world, the officials made preparations to conduct a mass cycling rally on 7th of April to celebrate world health day. However, the government is discussing a plan of action with UN residencies in the country if any chance the pandemic takes over. The country took action to close borders and cancel all flights to China and a few more countries back in February.
This time of the pandemic being proclaimed as the most crucial and important by many countries, the virus entering these protected countries will create enormous panic as they’re suffering from poverty and poor healthcare.