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Don’t Touch Your Face

Don’t Touch Your Face: Islands

A French police officer speaks to a man as she patrols on the Datcha beach after its closure to stop the spread of the coronavirus on the French overseas island of Guadeloupe on March 20.
A French police officer speaks to a man as she patrols on the Datcha beach after its closure to stop the spread of the coronavirus on the French overseas island of Guadeloupe on March 20. CEDRICK ISHAM CALVADOS/AFP via Getty Images

On today’s episode: Islands have advantages during a pandemic—and some drawbacks.

Living on an island during a pandemic is a double-edged sword. The geography provides an advantage: Islands in the South Pacific implemented strict measures in the early days of the outbreak to keep the coronavirus out. But such measures can also devastate the tourism-reliant economies of countries like Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, and others. (Fiji and Papua New Guinea reported their first cases of the coronavirus in recent days.) Even in the United Kingdom, which has a strong public health care system, remote Scottish islands have no testing kits or ventilators. 

Don’t Touch Your Face hosts James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon are joined by Jonathan Katz, a journalist who spent four years in Haiti, where he covered the 2010 earthquake and the cholera outbreak that followed.

About Don’t Touch Your Face:  On the last day of 2019, China reported an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, a port city with a population of 11 million. Within two months, the disease would spread to almost every continent on the globe and kill thousands of people. From Foreign Policy, a podcast about the extent of the COVID-19 contagion, the threat it poses, and what countries are doing to contain it. Join FP’s James Palmer and Amy Mackinnon as they track the spread of the virus and explore what it means for people’s everyday lives. Have a coronavirus question for us to explore? Email it to donttouchyourface@foreignpolicy.com.  See All Episodes

More Don’t Touch Your Face episodes:

Don’t Touch Your Face: What the AIDS Epidemic Tells Us About COVID-19

On our final episode (for now), we examine an older public health crisis and the lessons it offers.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Dating During Covid-19

On this week’s episode: How the pandemic is changing the way we meet people.

Don’t Touch Your Face: Pandemic Within a Pandemic

On this week’s episode: How the world may see more protests as lockdowns lift.

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