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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

No Visitors, No Virus

Outside Bangui in the Central African Republic.

There is unsurprisingly a strong correlation between tourist numbers and spread of the coronavisrus. Only 16 out of the world’s 198 countries are coronavirus free, and 10 out of these are among the 24 least-visited countries on the planet. Closing the borders early, or hardly having any visitors seem to be an advantage when facing a pandemic.

Two out of the four least-least visited countries have detected the coronavirus; Libya with 200 annual tourists and Yemen with 60. Neither Nauru with 130 tourists per year nor Tuvalu with 800 have detected anyone with COVID-19, according to Worldometer’s statistics, as of April 8 at 14:09 CET (12:09 GMT), with the Yemen figure addes on April 10 at 17:14 CET.

Both Nauru and Tuvalu are island nations in the Pacific. In fact, out of of the 14 countries in Oceania, only four have reported coronavirus cases: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

There are none in Kiribati (9th least-visited country), Marshall Islands (10th), Federated States of Micronesia (14th), Solomon Islands (16th), Tonga (24th), Vanuatu (34th), Palau (37th) or Samoa (43rd).

Do note that some of the countries “without” coronavirus may not belong on the list. North Korea is unlikely to report cases even if they have any and the media in Turkmenistan self-censor and do not mention the coronavirus at all.

Correspondingly, the countries with most tourists are among those worst affected. The six countries with the most cases are all among the nine which get the highest number of visitors. USA (2nd most-visited country), Spain (3rd), Italy (4th), Germany (9th), France (most visited) and China (5th). The odd one out here is Iran (51st).

It is also worth noticing that both Mexico (6th) and Thailand (10th) only have less than 3 000 coronavirus cases. I would not be surprised if those numbers explode anytime soon.

The 17 countries without any coronavirus cases are in Oceania (10 countries): Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu; Asia (3): North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan; Africa (2): Comoros, Lesotho; Europe (1): Kosovo

You can find figures of annual tourist numbers and detected coronavirus cases for all 198 countries below. Tourist figures were collected for Elsewhere (Norwegian title: Ingenstad), my book about the world’s 20 least-visited countries.

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