A handful of countries in the South Pacific and Asia are the few nations left with no reported cases from the coronavirus pandemic.
Around the globe, countries are seeing record numbers of coronavirus cases, from Italy to the United States, where second or third waves reveal worse conditions than when the pandemic initially hit. But some countries have staved off the coronavirus pandemic since it began 10 months ago, reporting zero cases as of Nov. 12, according to the World Health Organization.
Nine of the 11 countries reporting no cases are island nations in the Pacific Ocean and are likely experiencing the benefit of bordering only the ocean. But their strict travel policies may also be responsible for the islands’ success, as other island nations and territories have not fared as well.
Although these countries are reporting zero cases, that does not rule out that some may fly under the radar. As The Associated Press notes, two countries, in particular, North Korea and Turkmenistan have drawn skepticism from the international community about the accuracy of their health data.
Here Are Countries Without Reported COVID-19 Cases
Located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, Tuvalu is made up of three reef islands and six atolls, with a combined area of approximately 10 square miles and a population of over 10,000. The independent nation, a member of the Commonwealth, has seen success in closing its borders to travel, with a mandatory quarantine in some cases.
Turkmenistan’s non-remote location in Central Asia brings up questions of its ability to ward off the COVID-19 pandemic, which has touched all but one continent in the world.
Still, the country has not officially acknowledged any coronavirus cases, though its officials have restricted all commercial travel, mass religious events and encourage social distancing and mask-wearing, The Associated Press reports.
The archipelago that makes up Tonga, with about 170 islands of which 36 are inhabited, is neighbored by Fiji to the northwest, Samoa to the north and Niue to the northeast.
The nation has reportedly kept the coronavirus off of its shores by restricting cruise ships in the early stages of the pandemic, closing airports and even instituting a national lockdown, according to The Associated Press, though the country has still seen no cases.
Made up of four inhabited islands and several uninhabited islands, Samoa is one of the westernmost countries in Polynesia and is an independent nation and member of the Commonwealth.
The country’s government prohibited nearly all travel to its islands, except for in exceptional circumstances, in which a mandatory quarantine period was instituted to avoid bringing COVID-19 to the country.
Palau, an archipelago of more than 300 islands, is located about 800 miles southwest of Guam and over 500 miles east of the Philippines. It is an independent country in free association with the United States.
The island nation initially suspended all commercial air travel to stave off the coronavirus pandemic from its borders, later moving to a mandatory quarantining model.
6. North Korea
North Korea is one of only two non-island nations to make this list, although it’s reporting of zero cases of the novel coronavirus has been questioned. North Korea shares a border with China and South Korea, which some belief would make the reporting of zero cases improbable.
North Korea, the largest nation to report zero cases, with a population of 25 million, has instituted a strict lockdown, travel restrictions, and closed its borders, according to The Associated Press.
Located about 1,500 miles northeast of New Zealand where it is politically associated, the island nation of Niue is one of the world’s largest coral islands, and the westernmost island of the Cook Islands, although it operates independently. The country has received support from New Zealand to help combat COVID-19.
Neighbouring Kiribati, Nauru is the third-smallest country in the world by size; the single island, just over 8 square miles, is home to the second smallest population in the world at around 10,000.
The country has reportedly kept the coronavirus at bay through similar travel restrictions to their neighbouring island nations.
Thirty-two atolls, circular coral reefs, and one raised limestone island make up Kiribati, located about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.
The country, one of the only nations located in all four hemispheres, instituted travel restrictions to combat COVID-19 early on, made easier given that only a handful of airlines make the trip to the remote nation.
2. The Federated States of Micronesia
While the Federated States of Micronesia, made up of over 600 islands, take up fewer than 300 combined square miles of land between four states, it occupies around 1 million square miles of ocean.
Although the country has reported zero cases of COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization, it has received support from the U.S., China and Japan throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
1. The Cook Islands
Made up of 15 small islands, the Cook Islands is an island nation located in the South Pacific, more than 2,000 miles northeast of New Zealand, where it is politically linked.
The country has reportedly kept the virus out with mandatory quarantining upon entry, and temporarily banning recreational boats from its ports, including cruise ships.