With the coronavirus pandemic killing more than 250,000 people worldwide, two tiny nations have the lowest death rate among those countries with severe outbreaks.
In Qatar and Singapore, the number of deaths is below 0.1% of the reported infections. In Singapore, where the total number of dormitory outbreaks for foreign workers has risen to one of the highest in Asia, a 102-year-old woman recovered from the virus and was discharged from the hospital over the weekend.
A 102-year-old leaves the Singapore hospital after fighting viruses
Health care and the ability of the health system to deal with it are key to keeping survival high in this pandemic, health experts say. While some countries with small outbreaks, such as Vietnam, have not had a single death, those dealing with a larger spread – defined as more than 10,000 cases – often come under pressure that their health infrastructure is under pressure.
Among the major outbreak economies, Qatar's death rate is the lowest at 0.07% – 12 deaths out of more than 16,000. Singapore's share is 0.093% of more than 19,000 infections. Both countries have also kept the virus mortality rate low in relation to their population: less than 0.5 per 100,000 people.
The two nations are also among the richest in the world, which means they can afford the test kits and hospital beds they need. Belarus, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are just behind Qatar and Singapore.
These rates are calculated from official numbers reported by the nations themselves. Belarus has been criticized for allegedly under-reporting its data.
According to Raina MacIntyre, professor of global biosafety at the University of New South Wales, low mortality rates can be reduced to three things: tests, age of the population and capacity of the intensive care unit.
"Countries that test more and identify milder cases will have an apparently lower mortality rate," she said. Older populations and countries that exceed their ICU and ventilation capacity will also have higher mortality rates, she said.
While Singapore has an aging population and a higher average age than Qatar, most infections are found among low-wage foreign workers, who are typically young and who undergo health checks before entering the country.
Similarly, many cases in the Middle East affect younger migrant workers. The majority of the population in U.A.E. and Qatar are younger expatriates who also go through health checks before entering the country and have to leave the country once they have finished their jobs.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)