- By April 30, 2020, well over 200 countries and territories that are recognized by the United Nations had reported at least one case of COVID-19.
- North Korea borders South Korea, China, and Russia; these three have all had high levels of infections
- The South Pacific region has some of the globe’s most isolated countries
By April 30, 2020, well over 200 countries and territories that are recognized by the United Nations had reported at least one case of COVID-19. At the same time, sources report that over a dozen countries and additional territories have reported few, or zero, cases. Some of these include:
- North Korea
- Tajikistan and Turkmenistan
- Pacific Islands
- Parts of South Africa
Some of these are small, remote island nations located in the South Pacific. Interestingly, North Korea has reported "zero" coronavirus cases. Although their leader Kim Jong-un had seemingly disappeared for three weeks, he was shown during the first weekend in May, at a large event in North Korea. The footage was released by North Korean state media and is impossible to confirm.
Even though certain nations may have not reported infections, this does not mean that there were no cases. North Korea borders South Korea, China, and Russia; these three have all had high levels of infections. North Korea does not reveal much to the outside world and relies on propaganda. Kim’s dictatorship allows him to conceal any outbreak information from an international audience. On April 7, North Korea informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that its coronavirus testing was ongoing.
Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia have also been secretive about reporting cases. The virus’s severity has been downplayed by their media outlets and government communications, and Tajikistan did not cancel its Tajikistan Football League. Turkmenistan officials have been arresting citizens for talking about the virus in public, and it is also illegal for people there to wear masks in public. However, there are some restrictions here, such as mandatory temperature checks for people who take public transportation, and highway checkpoints.
The South Pacific region has some of the globe’s most isolated countries, and ten of them have not reported any cases. If true, this is fortunate as they lack strong health infrastructures; a COVID-19 outbreak could be devastating for them. Palau, Micronesia, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands had established travel and immigration restrictions from China when the virus was in its early stages. As of March, and April, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru, and the Solomon Islands also instituted strict air and water travel from the high-risk countries. Social distancing and isolation regulations were also placed in effect.
Parts of Southern Africa
Although hundreds of cases have been documented in parts of South Africa, some regions have not been reporting cases. Two million people live in Lesotho and this country’s parliament is in distress, as their Prime Minister was charged with murdering his first wife. Lesotho did not address the pandemic until March 10. At that point, the country ceased all foreign trade and closed non-essential services. Towards the end of the month, Lesotho announced several COVID-19 cases. There have not been any reported positive tests though, which might be because the country does not have the appropriate testing equipment.
The Comoros is a small group of islands located off South Africa’s east coast, and WHO has been helping its government since January. On March 17, President Azali Assoumani established quarantine measures and restrictions on public gatherings. Soon after, all mosques in the country were closed.