Tiny British island enjoys pre-Covid time warp as it’s never had single case

A tiny British overseas territory has – to date – not recorded a single case of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been revealed.

At just 120 square kilometres and home to only 4,500 people, the island of St Helena is located in the middle of the southern Atlantic Ocean.

The tiny island is best known for being the place where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and where he later died in 1821, news.com.au reports.

Due to its Covid-free status, people in St Helena are not required to wear masks or socially distance from one another.

Instead, people are merely asked to be mindful of personal hygiene – to wash their hands and cough into their elbows.

Apart from the plummet in tourists visiting the island, it's almost as if the pandemic never happened.

The tourists who have visited the island, however, have been required to complete 14 days' quarantine at Bradleys Camp, which was initially built as temporary accommodation for airport workers.

But in June this year, this was reduced to 10 days' quarantine.

Throughout the pandemic, the UK has listed St Helena at green on its traffic light system.

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Tourists must also show a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure and be tested for a second time on arrival in St Helena.

They are then tested for a third time at the end of their quarantine period.

The island's government established a three-phase plan for managing the pandemic.

The first phase is to prevent Covid from reaching the island, the second is to contain its spread should it be detected, and the third is to delay the spread to reduce the number of serious cases.

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20 months into the pandemic, St Helena is still only in the first phase of its plan.

“We are in the Prevent Stage, and all resources have been deployed to ensure we remain at this stage for as long as possible,” the government website states.

However, there have still been a few close calls.

In March 2020, there was a suspected case, but no testing facilities were set up on the island at the time.

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The person had been self-isolating, but a later test came back negative.

In March this year, there were several cases of coronavirus on a fishing vessel off the coast of the island.

Despite the fact that life on St Helena has not changed much since the start of the pandemic, the residents have still opted to get their vaccine – a whopping 97 per cent of the island's adult population have so far been jabbed.

St Helena's Head of Visitor Information Services, Matthew Joshua, told the BBC the island's Covid-free status has "put St Helena on the map" and resulted in an "increase in inquiries".

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