This Wednesday, San Marino, a micronation surrounded by the north-central region of Italy, registered 21 deaths and almost 200 people infected, statistics that make that country, statistically, more affected by the pandemic. According to the Spanish publication El Confidencial, this is the country with the most infections and the most deaths per million inhabitants in the world and also the one that presents the worst mortality rate derived from the Covid-19 outbreak, 11%. In other words, above 9.3% in Italy, 7.9% in Iran and 6.2% in Spain. Although all these countries have suffered, in absolute terms, thousands of deaths.
The micronation – of only 61 square kilometers – has a rate of 5.5 cases per 1000 inhabitants, given that it has only about 34 thousand inhabitants, which helps to explain the numbers. It is not a unique case, Luxembourg and Andorra also appear in the list of countries with the highest number of deaths and infections, also taking into account the respective population.
The situation is “tragic”, Gabriele Rinaldi, director of the country’s health authority, told the aforementioned newspaper. “We are facing one of the worst crises in the history of San Marino,” he lamented. The country’s first case of contagion was known on February 27, as an 88-year-old man from a neighboring country. The situation became worrying when northern Italy became the epicenter of the new coronavirus – San Marino is between the provinces Emilia Romana and Las Marcas. It is also Rinaldi who tries to underestimate the San Marino mortality rate associated with Covid-19 (11%), arguing that it is difficult to extrapolate the data when the sample is so small.
On March 8, part of Italy was quarantined, but the San Marino authorities opted for less drastic measures: they closed schools but refused to suspend commercial activity. At a time when hospitals are beginning to yield, the same newspaper clarifies that San Marino does not have the capacity to test the population, and the samples are sent to a laboratory in Italy. So far, local health officials have done 401 tests, a strategy that consists of testing people who have more developed symptoms.
Although it is technically easier to close the borders, the fact of receiving a constant flow of workers, who daily enter and leave the country, makes it more difficult to take drastic measures. To this is added the difficulty in acquiring sanitary products in a highly competitive world market.