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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observes the firing of suspected missiles on Sunday. His country has remained free of COVID-19. Image Credit: via REUTERS

Dubai: The world is in the grips of an insidious pandemic that’s wreaking havoc everywhere. Globally, almost 400,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and more than 16,500 have died. Infections have been reported by 194 countries outside China. But, miraculously, some have apparently managed to buck this trend, and remained free of COVID-19.

1) North Korea

Since the coronavirus outbreak in neighbouring China in January, North Korea 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”. The fact that North Korea has ardently worked to make itself perhaps the most isolated nation on earth has always helped. However, some analysts remain sceptical of North Korea’s assertion.

2) Libya

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.

3) Yemen

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. The country’s internationally recognised government - backed by a Saudi-led military coalition - has been battling the Iran-aligned Al Houthi militia for more than five years in a conflict that has plunged the country into what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.