The only places on Earth still (apparently) without coronavirus

The 12 permanently inhabited territories with no confirmed cases

source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

The following dependent territories with a permanent population have also reported no cases so far. Of Pitcairn, Mark Stratton wrote last week: “Bearing the resilience of mutinous ancestors who actively sought isolation to avoid swinging from a yardarm, Pitkerners’ normally supplement their income via a trickle of tourists arriving on an irregular freighter, Silver Supporter, and sell handmade souvenirs to passing cruise ships. To protect against Covid-19 impacting on a diminutive population of 45, neither tourists or visiting ships’ crew may set foot ashore, nor may the islanders’ board visiting ships.”

Of St Helena, he said: “The last flight arrival was on March 21 and bore an individual with mild virus symptoms, who went into self-isolation. Without the flight islanders have once again renewed acquaintance with isolation, relying on a monthly cargo ship. 

“A facility with 91 beds suitable for isolating potential cases has been readied as the island has an ageing population, yet there is no panic, says Helena Barnett, director of tourism. ‘Being a small mid-South Atlantic island means we’re resilient and used to being isolated for weeks at a time when ship was the only means of travel’.” Read his full report here

  1. American Samoa (population: 55,191), United States
  2. Bonaire (population: 20,104), Caribbean Netherlands
  3. Cook Islands (population: 17,564), New Zealand 
  4. Wallis and Futuna (population: 11,239), France
  5. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (population: 5,633), UK
  6. Svalbard (population: 2,667), Norway
  7. Christmas Island (population: 1,843), Australia
  8. Norfolk Island (population: 1,748), Australia
  9. Niue (population: 1,626), New Zealand 

10.Tokelau (population: 1,357), New Zealand

11.Cocos (Keeling) Islands (population: 544), Australia

12.Pitcairn Islands (population: 50), UK

With only a handful of countries still welcoming foreigners, and the vast majority of the world’s population living under some form of lockdown, it might seem like Covid-19 has spread to every corner of the planet. However, at the time of publication, there are actually 15 UN member states, and a clutch of other remote inhabited territories, still to report their first infection. 

The presence of some of the countries on this list, like secretive North Korea and Turkmenistan, which borders Iran, are highly dubious. These, and others, are likely to have unreported cases of coronavirus. However, according to official statistics, these are the last places without Covid-19.

The 15 countries with no confirmed cases

1. Comoros

There are currently no known cases of coronavirus in Comoros, with one doctor claiming the widespread use of anti-malarial drugs had boosted the country’s collective resilience. However, Comoros authorities have introduced a number of precautionary measures, including the suspension of all international flights until further notice. 

With only 36,000 annual arrivals, this volcanic archipelago off the east coast of Africa is one of the world’s least visited countries. The few who make it can enjoy pristine beaches and superb diving.

2. Kiribati

Some South Pacific nations have seen cases, but not yet Kiribati. As a precaution it is currently denying entry to any travellers who have been in or transited countries with confirmed local transmission within 14 days immediately prior to entering Kiribati. 

With only 6,000 annual overseas arrivals, Kiribati is one of the world’s hardest to reach, and least frequented, travel destinations. Its 33 coral atolls attract those in search of underwater wonders and complete isolation.   

3. Lesotho

Along with Comoros, Lesotho is one of only two African countries without a single reported victim of Covid-19. With a population of two million, and its neighbour South Africa experiencing thousands of confirmed cases, it seems highly likely that the virus has reached Lesotho. The parliamentary turmoil it is currently experiencing - prime minister Tom Thabane is facing allegations of murder - may also be a factor behind its apparent lack of cases. 

Lesotho’s borders have been closed until at least April 21. When trips are again possible, travellers will find spectacular landscapes - high-altitude Lesotho is known as the “Kingdom in the Sky”.

4. Marshall Islands

Like Kiribati, the Marshall Islands appears to have benefited from its geographical location. Nevertheless, authorities have introduced a number of precautionary measures, including a total ban on international arrivals.

5. Federated States of Micronesia

This vast archipelago encompasses 607 islands that spread over 1,678 miles of ocean. So far, however, no coronavirus. “I sailed some years back through Micronesia and am pretty sure some of the island communities there will have no idea this is actually unfolding,” travel writer Mark Stratton, who specialises in trips to the world’s most remote corners, told us.   

6. Nauru

Around 200 tourists make it to Nauru each year, which means perhaps 15,000 living souls, or 0.0002% of the global population, have been there. So it is of little surprise that Covid-19 has not yet been detected. To keep it that way, passengers who have transited through, or have been in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Iran, Italy, Korea, Europe, USA or Asia (except Taiwan) in the past 21 days, will not be allowed to enter Nauru. Everyone else will be screened and forced to self-isolate for 14 days.

7. North Korea

The secretive nation’s claim to have no cases of Covid-19 needs to be taken with a wheelbarrow of salt, given its ties with China, the source of the outbreak, and its tendency to be sparing with the truth. 

Even in normal times, travel to North Korea is not advisable. The Foreign Office warns that visitors may be arbitrarily detained, adding: “Offences that would be considered trivial in other countries can incur very severe penalties in North Korea, particularly actions the authorities deem to be disrespectful towards the North Korean leadership or government.”

8. Palau

Another coronavirus-free Pacific Island nation, Palau may be feeling thankful that China cut ties with the country in 2018, and urged its citizens not to visit, due to Palau’s diplomatic support for Taiwan. 

To keep the virus out, Palau has banned travellers arriving via China, Macao or Hong Kong.

9. Samoa

One of the region’s larger nations, with a population of 198,413, Samoa has managed to keep Covid-19 at bay, at least officially. Nevertheless, a state of emergency was declared on March 20 and all international travel by plane prohibited. 

For travellers, it is in its natural beauty that Samoa really appeals. Savai’i, for example, is host to the hiking and birdwatching oasis that is Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve.

10. Solomon Islands

With a population of 686,884, the Solomon Islands is considered one of the more “at risk” Pacific nations. So far, however, no cases have been reported, and since March 23 all non-citizens have been refused entry.

The Solomon realm gleams in the water as a collection of over 900 islands but only six have any real heft. Of these, Guadalcanal is the centre of life, deeply forested but also the site of the national capital Honiara, which adorns its north coast. As with Kiribati, tourist numbers are low, but there are great scuba opportunities for those keen to delve into way-out waters.

11. Tajikistan

Given its land border with China, and strong economic ties, it seems unlikely that a nation as large as Tajikistan (population: 9.1m) has managed to completely avoid coronavirus. But that is the message from the authoritarian regime of President Emomali Rahmon, who has ruled since 1992. 

In better times, Tajikistan is considered one of the best offbeat trekking destinations in the world.

12. Tonga

Tonga has also avoided Covid-19, according to official statistics, and hopes to keep it that way by closing its borders to all travellers and installing a state of emergency, including a nighttime curfew. 

The nation is home to 169 outcrops, of which Tongatapu (where you find the capital Nuku’alofa) is by far the largest. Most visitors arrive here and stay here, although there is much to be said for making the short south-easterly crossing to ’Eua, which offers glorious beaches on its west shore and plunging cliffs on its east. Captain Cook paused in Tonga on his second “voyage of discovery” (in 1773), which partly explains why it was a British protectorate from 1900 to 1970.

13. Turkmenistan

Another Central Asian nation with a very vague appreciation of the benefits of transparency, Turkmenistan also claims to have no coronavirus cases. That’s despite being sandwiched between China and Iran, two of the hardest hit countries. 

Turkmenistan’s dictatorial rulers have reportedly banned face masks and outlawed discussing the virus in public, while all international flights have been grounded and land borders closed.

14. Tuvalu

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited far-flung Tuvalu back in 2012, and only 2,000 tourists make it to the remote Pacific nation each year. That figure will be even smaller for 2020. 

No Covid-19 cases have been confirmed but precautionary measures are in place.

15. Vanuatu

None of Vanuatu’s 307,145 residents has tested positive for coronavirus, but it is taking no chances, with social gatherings of more than five people prohibited, and restaurants, bars and most supermarkets closing by 7.30pm each evening, and international flights suspended.

Vanuatu is another scattered proposition for travellers, its 82 islands laid out in something close to a Y-shape. Espiritu Santo, the largest outcrop, at the northern tip of the left-hand arm of the “Y”, has become a respected destination for scuba-diving, home to epic tranches of undisturbed reef. And in Champagne Beach – on the east coast, next to the village of Hog Harbour – it has one of the greatest crescents of sand in the Pacific.


 source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/