Despite infecting more than 3 million people around the world, there are still 33 countries and territories that have yet to report a single case of the novel coronavirus.
These include Comoros, Lesotho, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and tiny far-flung island nations in the Pacific such as Nauru, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
As of April 20, 214 countries and territories of the 247 recognised by the United Nations have seen at least one case of the COVID-19. Of these, 190 have also experienced local transmission â€” where the virus has spread within the community. There have been deaths in at least 166 of them.
Just because a nation has not reported an infection does not necessarily mean there have been no cases.
For example, North Korea has not reported any coronavirus cases but it is bordered by China, Russia and South Korea, all countries dealing with a high number of cases, meaning the virus may well have made it into the secretive state.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Some trends can be seen by looking at the spread of the coronavirus by regions. Asia experienced roughly two broad waves of transmission across borders, while in Europe, many countries started to report cases in the week from late February.
Latin America and Africa looked to be virus-free for January and February before the coronavirus spread rapidly through both continents.
Five countries and territories have managed to rid themselves of the virus after reporting cases. These are Anguilla, Greenland, the Caribbean islands of St. Barts and Saint Lucia, and Yemen.
None has reported deaths or state any currently active infections, with previous cases having fully recovered.
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