DESPARDES — The world is in the grips of an insidious pandemic that’s wreaking havoc everywhere. Globally, more than 550,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and more than 24,500 have died. Infections have been reported by 176 countries. But, miraculously, some have apparently managed to buck this trend, and remained free of COVID-19: Yemen, Libya and Syria — conflict zones in the Middle East.
Amnesty International has expressed their concern, in light of the United Nations Secretary General’s remarks, about the situation in these conflict zones. A ceasefire would, at least to a limited extent, give these countries a little more room to put aggressive efforts into preparing for the potentially devastating impact of coronavirus.
On Monday, the U.N. secretary general António Guterres appealed for a global ceasefire.
“This is crucial,” he said, “to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”
Miraculously, some of these countries which are still Coronavirus free include:
1) North Korea
Since the coronavirus outbreak in neighboring China in January, North Korea (38th parallel, DMZ Zone fame) has not reported a single case of the virus. The ‘hermit kingdom’ has instituted draconian quarantine measures against COVID-19, branding it a matter of “national survival”.
Libya has not yet confirmed any cases of the coronavirus, but international aid agencies and local health officials have warned that its conflict will make combating an outbreak very difficult. The war in Libya has meant that the country has been effectively closed for tourism for years. East Libya imposed a full curfew for 10 days from March 23 in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, though medicine can be delivered by telephone if necessary.
The COVID-19 has not reached Yemen yet. But given the current situation of the healthcare system, following years of ruinous conflict, it will be a disaster if the disease hits Yemen, the poorest Arab country. For more than five years in country, the country has plunged into what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
LATEST: As of Friday afternoon, 5 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in conflict-ravaged Syria — no deaths though. In Sudan, three confirmed cases have emerged with 1 death, according to CSSE.
Afghanistan has reported 94 confirmed cases, 2 recoveries and 4 deaths.