Coronavirus Observatory: Tracking the Pandemic in the Arctic and the Antarctic

By Polar Research and Policy Initiative
Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg discusses the COVID-19 pandemic at the Norwegian Government’s press conference for children, 16 March 2020. Photo: Eirin Larsen, SMK (Statsministerens kontor/Flickr).

Project Lead: Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes and Max Daniels

Project Team: Mikhail Radkevitch, Helena Roberts, Shaan Afzal-Khan, Haroon Faqir, Joe Godbold


First published: 20 March 2020
Last updated: 09 March 2022

This observatory tracks the spread of, and responses to, the Covid-19 pandemic across the Arctic and the Antarctic. The team at Polar Research and Policy Initiative will be monitoring the situation regularly and updating the report on a weekly basis, so stay tuned for the latest figures and measures. The states covered include the US (Alaska), Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut), Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. 

Image: Ocean conferences and Arctic fisheries alike have been disrupted by COVID-19. It risks long-term damage to both. Source: U.S. Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs.[i]

Arctic States: Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

Each of the eight Arctic Council members now has recorded cases of COVID-19. Here are the latest figures:

Alaska (US):

  • 287,237 confirmed cases (5,008 in Nome Census Area, 25,991 in Fairbanks North Star Borough, 1,833 in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, 1,279 in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, 32,966 in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, 16,147 in Kenai Peninsula Borough, 4,564 in Kodiak Island Borough, 97,491 in Anchorage Municipality, 7,333 in Juneau City and Borough, 647 in Petersburg Borough, 1,305 in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, 2,061 in Sitka City and Borough, 3,561 in Ketchikan Gateway Borough, 8,758 in Bethel Census Area). 1,108 deaths. 106 currently hospitalised. (Source: DHSS)
  • Vaccinations (5+): 70.8% first dose. 63.6% second dose. 26.6% third dose. (Source: DHSS 

Canada:

  • 3,331,670 confirmed cases and 37,039 deaths. There have been 3,515 confirmed cases in Yukon (22 deaths), 9,231 in the Northwest Territories (19 deaths) and 3,163 in Nunavut (5 deaths) (Source: Government of Canada
    • There have also been 2,716 confirmed cases in Nunavik in Quebec (10 deaths) (Source: Quebec Covid-19) and 2,273 confirmed cases in the Labrador-Grenfell Health Region, which includes Nunatsiavut (1 death) (Source: NL Covid-19)
  • Vaccinations (5+): Canada – 89.7% first dose, 81.0% second dose, 46.5% third dose (Yukon – 89.5% first dose, 85.0% second dose, 45.3% third dose, Northwest Territories – 95.9% first dose, 91.7% second dose, 42.4% third dose, Nunavut – 94.1% first dose, 80.0% second dose, 35.3% third dose, Nunavik in Quebec – 81.7% first dose, 69.1% second dose, 29.9% third dose, Newfoundland and Labrador (no regional data available) – 99.4% first dose, 94.5% second dose, 54.9% third dose (Source: Canada Covid Tracker

Kingdom of Denmark: 

  • Denmark: 2,891,763 confirmed cases, 4948 deaths, 1602 currently hospitalised. (Source: DHA).
  • Vaccinations: 82.5% first dose, 81% second dose, 61.2% third dose. (Source: DHA). 
  • Greenland: 11,825 confirmed cases, 20 deaths, 6 currently hospitalised. (Source: CMO). 
  • Vaccinations: 73% first dose, 68% second dose. (Source: CMO). 
  • Faroe Islands: 34,658 confirmed cases, 28 deaths. (Source: corona.fo). 
  • Vaccinations (12+): 93.1% first dose, 91.2% second dose, 52.7% third dose. (Source: corona.fo)

Finland:

  • 625,463 confirmed cases. 14-day incidence rate is 1,470 (2,068 in Lapland, 1,254 in North Ostrobothnia, 1,968 in Kainuu, 1,557 in Central Ostrobothnia, 1,279 in South Ostrobothnia, 2,463 in the Vaasa region, 1,114 in Central Finland, 704 in Northern Savonia, 632 in North Karelia, 1,727 in Helsinki and Uusimaa). 2,329 deaths. (Source: THL)
  • Vaccinations (18+): 88.7% first dose. 86.2% second dose. 60.3% third dose. (Source: THL)

Iceland:

  • 183,974 confirmed cases and 112 deaths (Source: https://www.covid.is/data)
  • Vaccinations (5+): 81% fully vaccinated (East Iceland – 82.8%, Greater Reykjavik – 76.32%, North Iceland – 84.11%, South Iceland – 80.51%, Suðurnes Peninsula – 72.2%, West Fjords – 79.62%, West Iceland – 81.07%) (Source: covid.is vaccinations

Norway:

  • 1,068,683 confirmed cases (311,242 positive cases in Viken, 213,508 in Oslo, 96,681 in Vestland, 83,133 in Rogaland, 76,192 in Trøndelag, 72,912 in Vestfold and Telemark, 57,436 in Agder, 55,682 in Innlandet, 30,319 in Troms and Finnmark, 29,380 in Møre and Romsdal, 25,081 in Nordland), 1,548 deaths. 8,552 hospitalised and 1,614 admitted to ICU. (Source: FHI).
  • Vaccinations: 93.8% first dose. 91.1% second dose. (Source: FHI).

Sweden:

  • 2,414,463 confirmed cases (556,400 in Stockholm, 423,695 in Västra Götaland, 329,863 in Skåne, 101,260 in Halland, 91,360 in Östergötland, 87,494 in Örebro, 86,344 in Uppsala, 83,889 in Jönköping, 72,535 in Västmanland, 70,730 in Gävleborg, 65,704 in Dalarna, 60,978 in Värmland, 60,432 in Sörmland, 57,077 in Kalmar, 51,748 in Västerbotten, 50,774 in Västernorrland, 47,196 in Kronoberg, 46,282 in Norrbotten, 31,419 in Jämtland, 28,327 in Blekinge, 10,956 in Gotland), 16,780 deaths. (Source: C19.SE).
  • Vaccinations: 7,832,031. (Source: C19.SE).

Russia:

  • 16,893,631 confirmed cases (2,714,926 in Moscow, 949,024 in Moscow Oblast, 1,467,836 in Saint Petersburg, 155,183 in Kaliningrad Oblast, 102,511 in Pskov Oblast, 175,399 in Leningrad Oblast, 94,743 in Novgorod Oblast, 151,294 in Tver Oblast, 123,116 in Smolensk Oblast, 144,960 in Yaroslavl Oblast, 150,934 in Bryansk Oblast, 97,828 in Kaluga Oblast, 141,224 in Vladimir Oblast, 102,996 in Ivanovo Oblast, 83,909 in Kostroma Oblast, 173,797 in Vologda Oblast, 129,714 in Murmansk Oblast, 128,192 in Republic of Karelia, 219,403 in Arkhangelsk Oblast, 6,957 in Nenets Autonomous Okrug, 163,374 in Komi Republic, 386,109 in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, 144,715 in Kirov Oblast, 340,647 in Perm Krai, 391,277 in Sverdlovsk Oblast, 175,418 in Tyumen Oblast, 131,320 in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, 200,589 in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, 350,986 in Krasnoyarsk Krai, 262,047 in Irkutsk Oblast, 164,640 in Yakutiya, 19,090 in Magadan Oblast, 5,208 in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, 37,923 in Kamchatka Krai), 351,124 deaths. (Source: JHU).
  • Vaccinations: 54% first dose, 49.4% second dose, 8.6% third dose. (Source: OWID).

Arctic States: Measures to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

For further information, click on buttons below:

Alaska

Canada

Kingdom of Denmark

Iceland

Norway

Sweden

Latest news about Sweden’s Coronavirus Measures 

Finland

Russia

Antarctica

Image: Scandic Congress Center Marina, Helsinki. The venue to the cancelled ATCM 34. Source: Scandic Hotels.[xiv]

Avoiding Fragmentation

The spread of the virus, and its effects on national and regional economies, livelihoods, supply chains, infrastructure and mobility, has illustrated the intensely connected nature of the world economy. The Arctic and Antarctic are not immune. These translate as specific and uneven impacts at the local level, which highlight more fundamental and underlying vulnerabilities in certain areas. Infrastructure in the Far North is one such area of concern. This is why a concerted, international effort to combat the virus is so important, and the exploitation of this crisis by petty nationalism worrying. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry added fuel to the fires of conspiracy by tweeting that it may have been the US Army that brought the virus to Wuhan.[xix] The Trump Administration sought to blame its usual foes and even friends – China, with labels of the ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘Chinese virus’, and also Europe, whereupon a travel ban was announced without notice, which at first did not include the UK and Ireland (supposedly for having secure borders).[xx] Italy’s nationalists were quick to pin the blame on familiar targets – the EU, and migrants arriving from Africa.

Governments must collaborate on best practice and work in coordination; and they should not fall prey to easy protectionism, isolationism (in the international sense) and a hasty blame game. Having a cause and excelling in a spirit of solidarity could prove an important reminder of how states can come together for the other great challenges that we face – climate change, rights and responsibilities in the Far North and biodiversity in the Far South, among many others. The Polar Regions show the necessity for such a response.

All information correct at the time of writing. The report will be updated by the team on a weekly basis.


This Observatory is powered by Core One Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, a holistic multi-specialty Physical Therapy, Medical and Chiropractic facility based in Manhattan, New York.


[i] www.state.gov/key-topics-office-of-ocean-and-polar-affairs/
[ii] www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news-story/9878972-inuit-concerned-about-potential-spread-of-coronavirus-in-north/
[iii] pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2020/03/06/inuit-crown-partnership-committee-continues-progress-shared
[iv]tromso.kommune.no/alt-om-korona-i-tromsoe-corona-advice-and-info.6258629-110070
[v]https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/life-and-public/2020/03/tromso-and-northern-municipalities-impose-quarantine-restriction-travelers
[vi]https://www.sysselmannen.no/en/news/2020/03/karantene-etter-reiser-utenfor-norden/
[vii] thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2020/03/norway-cancels-cold-response-due-coronavirus-outbreak
[viii]https://www.ship-technology.com/news/covid-19-hurtigruten-cruise-operations/
[ix] www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/12/coronavirus-in-russia-the-latest-news-march-12-a69117)
[x] twitter.com/BAS_News/status/1238139538905665537
[xi] antarctica.gov.au/…/international-antarctic-conferences-cancelled-due-to-coronavirus
[xii] www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/climate/coronavirus-arctic-mosaic-mission.html
[xiii] www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=299944&org=OPP
[xiv] www.scandichotels.com/hotels/finland/helsinki/scandic-grand-marina
[xv] https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economic-prospects#outlook
[xvi] news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059011
[xvii] www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russias-arctic-winter-is-now-missing-its-biggest-fans-chinese-tourists/2020/02/20/a75b97b0-53de-11ea-80ce-37a8d4266c09_story.html
[xviii] www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/05/coronavirus-hits-russian-tourism-for-400m-loss-a69537
[xix] www.ft.com/content/d420ce18-641f-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5
[xx] www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/14/before-trump-white-house-blamed-china-coronavirus-it-vouched-it/

Max Daniels serves as a Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. Max graduated with a BA in Human Geography from Durham University. His interests lay in a diverse range of subjects, including political and urban geographies with a cross-disciplinary focus on Arctic governance, while his dissertation analysed the regulatory framework of Antarctic tourism. Following experience in the travel industry, he completed his MA in Geopolitics, Territory and Security at King’s College London. He has pursued his studies in international spaces and the poles, with projects focusing on the legal aspects of territorial and border disputes in the Arctic, the Antarctic’s environmental geopolitics, and the geopolitics of outer space. He has most recently worked as a staffer for a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons.
Dr Dwayne Ryan Menezes is the Founder and Managing Director of Polar Research and Policy Initiative (PRPI). He is also the Founder and Managing Director of Human Security Centre and Commonwealth Policy Development Centre. Over his academic career, Menezes read Imperial and Commonwealth History at the LSE and the University of Cambridge, graduating from the latter with a PhD in History. Subsequently, he held visiting or postdoctoral fellowships at research centres at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and London. At present, he is an Honorary Fellow at the UCL Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London and an Associate Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Over his policy career, Menezes has served as Head of the Secretariat of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen in the UK Parliament (2015–present); Consultant to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth (2014–2016); Principal Consultant to the European Parliament Intergroup on the Freedom of Religion or Belief (2015–2016) and Research Associate to a UN Special Rapporteur (2013–2014). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.
Helena Roberts is a Global Leadership Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. She is an Economics and Politics graduate from the University of Leeds, and completed an Erasmus study abroad year at IE University in Madrid.
Shaan Afzal-Khan is a Global Leadership Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. He recently graduated from the University of Glasgow following the completion of a degree in politics. His dissertation on Voter Suppression in the United States demonstrates his deep interest in international affairs. He joins the Polar Research and Policy Initiative in the hope of gaining insight into how individuals and organisations can make the world a better place.
Joe Godbold is a Global Leadership Fellow at Polar Research and Policy Initiative. He is a Politics (BA) and Environmental Change and International Development (MSc) graduate from the University of Sheffield.

 

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