Small is not beautiful. Chart by Keith Rankin.
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Analysis by Keith Rankin.

While the number of cases of Covid-19 remains very small relative to the world’s population, a number of prominent people have been caught up in it. It seems to be very much an international travellers’ disease, with people who travel the most being at highest risk.

The highest incidences of Covid‑19 have been recorded in very small and mostly very rich countries. In the smallest of these, almost by definition the contact with people outside their borders is large relative to their small populations.

By far the worst is San Marino, a tiny Italian enclave that plays an important role in global armaments’ markets. It even had its own Formula 1 Grandes Prix from 1981 to 2006.

The Faeroe Islands are part of Scandinavia, a prosperous region very hard hit. Their situation is much like that of Iceland, but worse.

Andorra is a skiing and gambling resort between France and Spain. It has a much higher incidence of Covid‑19 than both France and Spain.

Luxembourg is the smallest country in the European Union, and is a tax haven.

Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Bavaria (Germany) and Northern Italy are ski resorts and gathering places for high rollers, especially during the peak ski season (which is February and March).

Italy and Spain are major year-round tourist destinations – including much top‑end tourism. The Italian outbreak, as far as we know, occurred about half way between Milan and Venice.

Norway is also very rich, a ski resort, and a magnet for high‑end tourists wanting to cruise and see the Northern Lights.

New Zealand comes in at 100th place, higher than China at 112th place and Japan in 105th place. Australia is 54th. Other small jetsetter countries have come in well ahead of New Zealand: Saint Martin, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Trinidad, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Maldives.

Other countries that come in above Iran (27th) and South Korea (30th) [and excluding affected jetsetter minnows such as Montserrat, Saint Barthélemy, and Vatican City] are Gibraltar, Estonia (a popular destination for British stag parties), Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Brunei, Slovenia (now a top‑end tourist destination), Channel Islands (tax havens), Sweden, Malta and Ireland (corporate tax haven).

There may have a link to Europe from Macau – a quasi-European jetsetter enclave in Asia known for its high‑roller gambling – and a country which had a significant number of Covid cases in January.

Have I made my point?

However, just because, outside of China this appears to have started as a disease of the rich, it does not mean that the rest of us should feel in any way complacent.

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