Elimination successes

Many countries have eliminated the covid-19 virus from most or all of their land area, either completely or to very low levels such as 1 case per million population per day.

Examples include China, South Korea, New Zealand, Tunisia and Vietnam. People living in high incidence countries are often sceptical of these successes, so this page presents some of the evidence.


China has had extraordinary success in eliminating the covid-19 virus. Most of the regions of China report single figures of cases or no cases at all, with many of the cases being imported.

There have been some secondary outbreaks, but these have all been controlled.

Many people outside China suspect that the figures are too good to be true, but the picture that they paint seems to be broadly true, according to the evidence:
  • independent corroboration from journalists - e.g. the resumption of business conferences in Shanghai [1]
  • independent corroboration from blogs - e.g. Jason Lightfoot https://jasonlightfoot.us-channel.com
  • personal contacts with Chinese residents
  • an out-of-control epidemic is very hard to keep secret.

South Korea

South Korea "declared war" on the virus at an early stage and took radical action [2], and deaths have been kept to about 60 per million population - a rate less than 1% of the UK's.


Reported case rates have been reduced to around 1 per million per day. Evidence for their reliability comes from a resident [3]:
"I believe reports are reliable, I have been in Tunisia since 1st March & have witnessed all the stringent & timely methods used. Most of June the ONLY cases in Tunisia were imported through repatriation, all of whom were taken direct from the airport to quarantine centres....
"... which contained the virus and stopped it spreading into the community.
Sadly Tunisia reopened the borders on 27th June using the traffic light system & for some bizarre reason gave UK green status ☹ cases are now growing daily again.
"Tunisia used all methods advised by WHO from day one; stopped large gatherings, closed all but essential shops, closed all cafes bars, sent information to everyone via text message as well as tv. Gave a phone number to call if you had symptoms so someone could come to test you....
"...Stopped travel between towns, closed public transport, closed borders, isolated areas & towns where people had tested positive, tested/traced and quarantined. Shops were well stocked throughout, ample hand gel and masks available, cash distributed to those who couldn't work..
"...All this was done very early on: 2nd week of March anyone coming into the country had to self isolate & were spot checked by police. 3rd week everyone entering was taken direct from the airport to (guarded) quarantine hotels.
I have no doubt that the numbers are reliable."


Vietnam has reported no deaths from covid-19 [4].


[1]"Business conferences are back in Shanghai" (12 Jun 2020)https://twitter.com/hancocktom/status/1271329943905947650
[3]Twitter exchanges (June 2020) https://twitter.com/Ian_Campbell_/status/1285283467417223174
[4] Vietnam has reported no coronavirus deaths how? (21 Apr 2020) The Conversation https://theconversation.com/vietnam-has-reported-no-coronavirus-deaths-how-136646

First published: 20 Jul 2020
Last updated: 23 Jul 2020