Friday, May 01, 2020

Nunavut registers its first COVID-19 case

The tiny remote Arctic community of Pond Inlet in Nunavut has just registered its first case of COVID-19. In fact, the first case in the whole territory, which was the last unifected part of Canada. 10 other people in the territory have been tested and are awaiting results, but this is the first  official case. The individual is already in self-isolation
At first blush, you wonder how this is even possible. But, on reflection, this town of 1,600 mainly Inuit inhabitants, accessible only by air or sea, is entirely reliant on the outside world for all of its groceries, medications and other supplies. So, in a way, it's surprising that it's it has taken this long to happen.
Unlike many other far northern communities, Pond Inlet has a pretty well-equipped and well-trained medical centre, and testing kits are being sent over from the capital, Iqaluit. All 20 of the infected person's recent contacts are been traced and, in such a small place, it is actually practical to contact and segregate them.
It makes you realize that, in this day and age, everywhere is connected, and nowhere is exempt. Worldwide, other than North Korea and Turkmenistan (and who believes either of THEM?), the only countries still to register cases (as of 18th April) are small Pacific Islands: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Oh, and little landlocked Lesotho, which again I would be tempted not to believe (the little country, deep within South Africa, closed its borders and announced a strict lockdown on March 31st, but it is still accepting trade and supply vehicles from South Africa, a country which has a pretty substantial outbreak of the virus.

Turns out, Nunavut is now back down to zero cases, as the suspected Pond Inlet case is now considered to have been a false positive!

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