All 11 people who had been diagnosed with coronavirus in Greenland have now recovered, making it the only country at the moment with no active cases.
The national medical office in Denmark reported this week that the 11 confirmed cases of the virus have since been cleared up, with all those who tested positive now recovering. The numbers were reflected on websites that were tracking coronavirus cases around the globe, leaving it as the only country without cases of the virus as cases surged elsewhere.
As the EU Observer reported, the pandemic had yet to strike hard in Greenland, the largest island in the world with a disparate population of 57,000 and a limited health care system. All of the cases so far had been in the capital city of Nuuk, and those infected had gone into quarantine and since recovered.
It is not clear if the virus could return anytime soon, as the report noted that the city is closed entirely, with no one entering or leaving without permission. Local officials have even closed off the city to private boats and snowmobiles. Similar restrictions are in place across the country, with no flights or ships entering the island without special permission and travel only allowed between the small cities and villages on the island.
The report noted that there is a historic precedent for the stringent measures officials have put in place, noting that Greenland has been susceptible to outbreaks of disease in the past.
“A grim history of deadly epidemics brought to Greenland in the 18th and 19th century by European colonizers has fueled fears that the coronavirus, if not checked, will fast reach the many small outlying villages, thereby creating urgent and impossible demands for emergency air transport and intensive care in Greenland’s small hospitals,” the report noted.
After the coronavirus outbreak first started in China late last year, it moved across the world and a new epicenter grew in Europe, with tens of thousands of cases reported in Italy and Spain.
Experts have predicted that some measure of social distancing will need to remain in place in those countries hit by the virus until a vaccine is available for widespread distribution, which could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. It is not clear if officials in Greenland expect to keep the island free from the virus during that time, as the country’s fishing industry requires trade with Europe and North America.