These Nine Countries Have Not Reported a Single COVID Case

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the globe approaches 52 million, nine countries have yet to declare a single infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

They consist of mostly island nations in the Oceania region, including several in Polynesia and Micronesia, as well as the Asian countries of North Korea and Turkmenistan.

Many of these currently infection-free countries closed their borders to all foreign travelers from the early stages of the pandemic, including the Polynesian island country of Samoa.

In March, a state of emergency was declared in Samoa and its borders were shut, allowing entry only to returning citizens and residents.

Some countries implemented partial border closures, imposing travel bans or other restrictions on those traveling from the areas worst hit by the outbreak.

Nauru, a Micronesian island, imposed entry restrictions on those who had visited China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Italy or Iran in the 21 days before traveling to Nauru.

North Korea also closed its borders to foreigners and has yet to report any confirmed cases, according to the WHO.

For several months the country claimed it had no infections despite being bordered by China, the country where the virus was first reported, and South Korea, which at one point had the most confirmed cases in Asia after China.

In March, the South Korea-based Daily NK news site claimed that as many as 1,800 North Korean soldiers had the virus, with thousands more in quarantine.

In February, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said: "The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak.

"We strongly support and encourage the work of U.S. and international aid and health organizations to counter and contain the spread of coronavirus in the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]. The United States is ready and prepared to expeditiously facilitate the approval of assistance from these organizations," the statement said.

The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, which closed its borders but reopened them in June, has yet to declare any COVID-19 infections.

The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan states: "Turkmenistan has not officially acknowledged any cases of COVID-19 within its borders and may be disinclined to do so if cases were confirmed.

"The U.S. Embassy has received reports of local citizens with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 undergoing COVID-19 testing and being placed in quarantine in infectious diseases hospitals.

"We urge U.S. citizens in Turkmenistan to mitigate the possible spread of disease and to continue to wear facial coverings, practice physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and enhanced disinfection measures per [U.S.] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines."

The South Pacific island country of Vanuatu was among these few virus-free countries before it reported its first COVID-19 case on Wednesday.

Health officials confirmed that a 23-year-old man tested positive for the virus on Tuesday while in quarantine following a trip to the U.S., which has the world's highest number of confirmed cases.

"I want to assure the public and citizens of this country that this situation is under control," said Vanuatu's prime minister Bob Loughman.

The country closed its borders in March to minimize the risk of transmission via inbound travelers, but recently began to allow repatriation flights.

 Pyongyang University North Korea April 2020
Students wearing face masks disinfect their hands and undergo a temperature check at the Pyongyang University of Medicine in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 22. North Korea is among nine nations that have reported no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of November 11. Kim Won Jin/AFP via Getty Images

Countries with no reported COVID-19 cases

(as of November 11, according to the World Health Organization)

  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Kiribati
  • Nauru
  • North Korea
  • Palau
  • Samoa
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu

The wider picture

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 51.7 million people since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

Globally, more than 1.2 million have died while more than 33.6 million have recovered as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the countries with the most COVID-19 cases across the globe.

COVID-19 cases across the world