As the rest of the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, 10 Pacific Ocean islands have managed to keep the virus from invading their countries.
These islands; Republic of Palau, Micronesia, the Republic of Nauru (a microstate of Micronesia), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the Independent State of Samoa, the Republic of Vanuatu and the Kingdom of Tonga, according to the BBC have aggressively closed their borders and kept the coronavirus at bay.
However, their success at keeping the virus out came at a price. By closing their borders, they limited tourism dollars which are vital to their economy.
The Marshall Islands, for example, anticipates losing over 700 jobs as a result of the pandemic, many in hospitality as well as the fishing industry, where strict quarantine restrictions have contributed to what some reports estimate as a 50% depletion in exports.
However, there is a general consensus among experts, though, that prioritizing residents’ health over their wealth was the right move.
“Even if they kept their borders open, their major tourism markets of Australia and New Zealand wouldn’t be open, as they’ve locked down their own borders,” Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at an independent international policy think tank told the BBC.
“If the islands had chosen to prioritize their economy, they would have the worst of both worlds — a health crisis and an economic crisis,” Pryke added.