Zero infected and no one died, that is the official Coronavirus result for 12 countries so far around the world. Experts only tend to believe four of those though.
In most countries, the corona pandemic has been well established, but there are some exceptions.
12 countries stand out with zero infected and zero dead as of this weekend.
The four that experts tend to believe are reporting true figures are the small Pacific island nations of Vanuatu, Nauru, Tonga and the Solomon Islands. These are isolated island states with no easy access to them.
Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Samoa are thought to have had some infections at least, as reports on social media have shown, although they also officially reported no cases. Probably didn’t want to ruin their tourism GDP of course.
But then we get to the two big ones on the list which really stick out because of their population size and their place on the world map.
North Korea and Turkmenistan
The two countries with millions of citizens that have reported zero infections and zero dead are North Korea (population 25 million), which shares borders with South Korea and China, and Turkmenistan (population 6 million) in Central Asia.
The two are totalitarian one-party states where the media is fully controlled by their respective powerful leaders Kim Jong-un (who was missing until a few days ago and media assumed that his sister would be taking over) and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
Although it is claimed by their respective governments that the corona pandemic has not reached these closed countries, many do not believe this is possible. According to official reports in North Korean media, about 10,000 people were isolated for a period, in addition to some 350 foreigners. Now, most of them have escaped and taken the virus with them.
North Korean authorities claim that they quickly closed their borders after the coronavirus was detected in neighboring China. Those who tried to enter to smuggle goods were executed. Those suspected of being infected were immediately quarantined.
Lack of respirators
As there are probably no respirators, North Korea’s health sector is less able to treat severe respiratory diseases, even though the country officially has more doctors per capita than the United States and France. Most provincial hospitals also lack painkillers. This must be smuggled in from China.
The fact that North Korea is occasionally completely closed is known to many. However, the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan is less discussed. Here Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov controls with an iron fist. In his state uttering the word ‘coronavirus’ can get you arrested.
It is difficult to judge how many infected people there are because the country completely lacks transparency. They also refused the WHO delegation access, which indicates that some citizens might indeed have been infected. Then again, even European countries don’t seem to fully trust the WHO anymore.
Main picture credit: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html