In Greenland, a long and unfortunate history of deadly epidemics has prompted a strict response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the 18th and 19th century, European colonizers imported several diseases which reduced the population significantly.
After a handful of COVID-19 cases were recorded in the capital of Nuuk, Greenland’s most populous city, in March, all entry to and from the area was banned without special permission. All borders were also closed to avoid the risk of history repeating itself.
Greenland has just one large medical facility and a handful of small hospitals, meaning it doesn’t have the resources to deal with a large outbreak. Its 72 towns and villages aren’t connected by railway or road, with a small number of planes and helicopters used to transport people to hospitals. The Arctic island’s borders could remain shut for at least 12 months and many other smaller islands may follow suit as they look to avoid fatalities.