Covid outbreak on remote Pacific islands
GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)
The Federated States of Micronesia, a small island country in the Pacific that is home to around 110,000 people, is one of the latest places on Earth to experience an outbreak of Covid-19, after two and a half years of successfully protecting itself from the virus. Micronesia had earlier planned to lift its quarantine restrictions and open its borders on 1 August 2022.
- Located in the Western Pacific, in the Micronesia sub-region of Oceania, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of four island states, Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei (where the capital Palikir is located), all in the Caroline Islands.
- Also known as the Carolines, it is a scattered archipelago of small islands that are divided between Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.
- FSM is composed of 607 islands and islets with a total land area of 702 square km.
- While this area is rather small, the islands stretch across an estimated 2,900 sq km of sea, giving the nation the 14th largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world. EEZs grant countries special rights over marine resources up to 370 km from their coasts.
- The Federated States of Micronesia shares its sea borders with other small island nations and territories in the Micronesia region like Guam, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, and the Mariana Islands.
- Its larger neighbouring states — separated by large swathes of the Pacific Ocean — include the Philippines in the west, Hawaii in the east, Papua New Guinea and Australia to the south, Japan to the north.