NEW DELHI: Since the first cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the novel coronavirus has spread to more than 190 countries.
In less than a month, nearly every other country has reported coronavirus infection and the confirmed cases increased ten-fold from 100,000 in the first week of March with the World Health Organization saying on Wednesday that there were nearly one million confirmed infections globally.
Despite confirmed global infections, the insidious COVID-19 pandemic has not landed in eighteen countries.
According to a BBC tally published on April 2, the following countries managed to remained free of COVID-19 are:
|Name of the country
|Sao Tome and Principe
Yemen not yet on the list
War-ravaged Yemen, which has long been the most impoverished country in the Arabian Peninsula, has not yet confirm cases of the coronavirus.
While it has not recorded any COVID-19 cases to date, but if the pandemic does hits Yemen, the impact will be unimaginable in the poorest Arab countr where five years of conflict has created what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
In a country where the health infrastructure has collapsed, where water is a rare commodity and where 24 million people require humanitarian assistance, this plague would overwhelm it, with the most vulnerable hit the hardest.
Another Arab state is Comoros. The tiny Indian Ocean island nation that occupies a unique position within the Arab League have been spared of the coronavirus outbreak.
One of the first countries in the world to take swift action against the pandemic is nuclear-armed North Korea.
As part of its anti-virus efforts, it quickly took draconian measures at their border crossings in January after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China, and imposed strict containment measures inside their formations to stop the spread.
It put thousands of its own people and hundreds of foreigners — including diplomats — into isolation and mounted disinfection drives, with state media constantly exhorting citizens to obey health directives.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world soared past one million on Thursday and killed more than 70,000 as Europe reeled from the pandemic and the United States reported the highest daily death toll so far of any country.
Despite more than half the planet imposing some form of lockdown, the virus claimed thousands more lives, with the US, Spain and Britain seeing the highest number of daily fatalities yet.