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The coronavirus, officially termed COVID-19, continues to permeate the globe at an exponential rate, with countries large and small documenting new infections with each passing hour. There are at least 525,000 known cases and almost 24,000 deaths as a result of the novel pathogen.
Almost three weeks ago, a Fox News tabulation affirmed that there were some 63 countries that had not declared any known infections in their borders. A week ago, there were only 19.
And now, as of Thursday, April 2, 15 nations had not yet reported cases to world officials.
So which are they, and what is their population?
Lesotho 2.2 million
Malawi 18.6 million
Sao Tome + Principe 204,300
Solomon Islands 611,300
South Sudan 12.6 million
Tajikistan 8.9 million
Yemen 28.2 million
However, public health officials and global experts caution that just because a country has not yet reported a case of coronavirus, it does not mean that none exists. For some, there is simply a lack of testing resources available, and for other nations, it is a matter of authoritarian repression.
North Korea, which borders China – the hub from which the pandemic began late last year – has not even done so much as to acknowledge coronavirus. However, leaders inside the hermit kingdom are, according to regional reports and intelligence assessments, battling thousands of infections. The Financial Times reported Wednesday that Pyongyang has "secretly" turned to international organizations and contacts in a bid for desperate help in controlling the spread.
"The government has testing kits and they know how to use them, but (the number of kits) is not sufficient," a source told the publication. "Hence, (officials) are requesting all organizations to support them in this regard."