During the economic and social upheaval caused by COVID-19, there might have been times when you wanted to run away. Short of flying to another planet or orbiting space until the turmoil ends, there are several countries that you can move to if you want to become an ex-pat in a safe country.
While countries might enforce new restrictions at home, most do not restrict their citizens from moving abroad to work. This might be the year to make your dream come true.
Desperate to escape but don’t know where to start? Fortunately, Forbes, Bloomberg, MoveHub, and US News have stepped in to do the research for you. Check out the 10 safest countries to live in during the pandemic.
Since 2020, Taiwan has had an impressive record of preventing outbreaks and controlling the spread of COVID-19.
To demonstrate how effective Taiwan’s efforts are at quarantining the virus, only 9 deaths and 933 cases have occurred in a country that has 24 million people. Since the public is enthusiastically masked, even flu cases have dropped by 90%.
If you are looking for possibly the safest place to escape the pandemic, then Taiwan should stay at the top of your list.
If you are looking for a place to escape overseas, check out Switzerland. Sheltered by towering, snow-capped Alps and known as a political and financial haven, Switzerland also has a reputation for COVID-19 safety that has carried through summer 2021.
With a stable economy, although you might find groceries and other amenities pricey, Switzerland ranks near the top of the list as one of the safest places to live.
With historic cities, a countryside scattered with ancient castles and picturesque biking trails, and a low percentage of fatal COVID cases, Germany just might be an expat’s paradise.
Germany is a clean and modern country that offers many cultural experiences. The country also provides rapid COVID-19 testing through individual laboratories, hospitals, and clinics rather than from government sources that help identify and isolate cases faster and more effectively.
Germany has also expanded its critical care capacity that has played a role in its low COVID fatalities.
The country’s preparedness and physical distancing efforts have paid off, making it one of the safest countries in the world right now.
4. New Zealand
New Zealand is another country that ranks at the top of the list. Known for the filming location of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, as well as a post-apocalyptic hideaway for billionaires and technology gurus, New Zealand is also a place that contains breathtaking beauty and generally low coronavirus rates.
In fact, from February – August 2021, the country remained practically COVID-free. The government is currently imposing a lockdown strategy to contain the new Delta Variant but plans to reopen to international visitors by 2022.
With rugged mountains jutting up out of the blue Ha Long Bay like a background out of a fantasy game, Vietnam also boasts a zero COVID-19 fatality rate, according to reports, over nine months from 2020-2021.
Read more on safe countries from the BBC.
While Vietnam didn’t go into lockdown, it raced to shut down borders, sealed off towns, villages, and streets, and mandated early health checks.
The government’s approach proved effective. If you are looking for a safe country with a lower-middle-income economy and don’t mind authoritarian government structures, then Vietnam might be your new home.
By summer 2021, Australia reported no deaths from COVID-19. When the second-wave virus hit, Australia went into a massive 112-day lockdown that proved effective.
Because the country developed strong test-and-trace systems, closed borders, and restricted travel between states when needed, Australia’s approach not only reduced pandemic numbers but restored faith in the government.
If you are looking for a country that enforces restrictions to keep people safe, then an Australian adventure may await.
If sushi, anime, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and COVID resilience appeal to you, put Japan on your ex-pat list. Although conditions can change due to the Delta Variant, Japan has ranked as one of the safest places during the pandemic.
Scandinavian countries have ranked high on the safe country lists during the pandemic. If you are looking for a safe country to ride out the worst of the pandemic, Norway may be the way to go.
By April 2021, the country ended most of its COVID restrictions. In June 2021, the chief health officer declared that “COVID is over” in Norway.
Norway has a stable social security system and most of the population is employed in fields that allow them to work remotely. The government also has a decentralized system that allows different areas to handle guidelines in ways that make the most sense.
The farther north you go, the colder cases become. Surrounded by water and careful government guidelines, Iceland is a stellar example not only of safety but social peace and economic stability.
With stunning scenery that includes ice caps, an ancient ring road, waterfalls, fjords, and the Blue Lagoon, Iceland also has a top-notch healthcare system and a radically low crime rate.
The country has only a 0.48% death rate from the virus. In May 2021, the country had no reported cases. By June, only 40 had surfaced. For context, out of 6,025 cases, Iceland had only 29 COVID deaths.
The great thing about Iceland is that the government has effectively tracked and reduced the viral spread while enforcing fairly mild restrictions. As a bonus, since 2008, the country has been listed as the most peaceful country in the world.
As each country navigates its way through pandemic variants and strategies, some places might shift up or down on the safe-location-scale.
At the same time, the COVID case numbers, preventative and containment measures, and lower fatality rates continue to rank high in these countries compared to other parts of the world.
If a country that is high on your list of places to live slides down the safety ranks, you can monitor its progress and status while continuing your plans to see if it remains a good fit for you.
With much of the world in social and economic turmoil during the global health crisis, these 10 countries tend to remain among the safest and most stable places to live abroad.
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