Despite the daily increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally, about 18 countries have not confirmed any positive case.
Preventive and containment measures have been put in place to ensure the virus does not spread to them.
All countries in Europe, North America, and South America have reported at least a case of the virus while Africa, Asia, and Australia still have some virus-free countries.
Although countries in Africa started confirming cases in February, 49 out of the 54 countries in the continent have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The remaining five countries, Comoros, Lesotho, Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, and South Sudan remain virus-free.
Comoros shares a border with Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Seychelles, nations who have each recorded more than nine cases, yet has none.
In Comoros there is no testing available for COVID-19, according to the U.S. embassy in Madagascar and Comoros. Nonetheless, passengers who have “transited through China or Japan face entry travel restrictions or quarantine.”
Lesotho is enclaved within South Africa. South Africa has the highest number of cases on the continent, confirming 1,1380 cases, five deaths, and 50 recoveries.
On March 30, authorities implemented a lockdown and entry restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. The lockdown is expected to last for 21 days.
Citizens during this period are permitted to buy food and seek medical care.
Businesses except for supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, petrol stations, and health care centres have been shut.
Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, and South Sudan all share borders with affected countries.
In Malawi (bordered by Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique) a state of disaster was declared by the government on March 31 due to the pandemic. Prior to the declaration, all schools and universities were closed since March 23. Public gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned.
The Malawian government also placed a ban on foreign nationals arriving from places seriously affected by Covid-19, except for SADC countries.
In Sao Tome, the government extended the state of emergency for another 15 days.
Sao Tome shares maritime borders with Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, most precautionary and containment measures in South Sudan are focused on creating awareness. Across the country a “campaign raising awareness on the coronavirus disease and how to best protect yourself and your family” is being rolled out.
There is a total of 6,383 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the African continent.
Asia which comprises of 48 countries has four COVID-19 free countries: North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Yemen.
These countries are all bordered by countries which have confirmed a case of the virus.
In Tajikistan, travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine has been implemented by the government.
Turkmenistan, an isolated Asian country with one of the most repressive governments, has, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) who published a rebuke for the President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhame, allegedly placed a ban on the word ‘coronavirus’.
Turkmenistan is surrounded by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, countries which all have numerous Covid-19 cases.
Despite the global ceasefire call by the UN Chief, Antonio Gueterres, last week due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fighting continues in Yemen.
A group, Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, said in a statement that “prisoners and detainees in Yemen are particularly vulnerable – and at high risk of death if the novel coronavirus emerges in overcrowded prisons and other detention facilities.”
They further said that “the health system in Yemen is on the brink of collapse and that prisoners must cope with a lack of adequate food and minimum standards of hygiene and contravene standards set by international law.”
There is a total of 188,159 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Asia.
In Australia, Solomon Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Federated State of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Marshal Islands have not confirmed a case of the virus.
Many of the countries within the continent are ill-equipped, according to The Guardian, as they are reliant on sending samples overseas.