Islands and Covid-19

Island communities and remote rural mainland communities will suffer the most if Covid19 reaches them. We all know why… large part of elder population (at least in Scotland) and, in most cases, the lack of the specialised health services needed to tackle the pandemic. With this in mind, the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) sent out the following questions to its own island related network:

  • What actions are being taken to protect the island community from COVID-19? In particular, how are travel restrictions being put in place and enforced?
  • What actions will be taken should people on the island have COVID-19?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure that essential goods and services are provided to the island community?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure that people working on the islands, not only in the tourism sector, are sustained financially in the short term and in the long term?
  • What actions are being taken to ensure the mental well-being of people on the islands?
  • If you consider it appropriate, feel free to share any data about people who have COVID-19 on your island and of people who, sadly, have passed away because of COVID-19.
  • Is there anything else you would like to share?

Island Innovation shared similar questions to its wide island network. The goal of this page is to collate the responses we have received in order to share information of island responses to Covid 19. The final objective is to better equip those islands who are in the midst of the crisis now and plan better for islands who may suffer the consequences of Covid 19 in the future. Importantly, planning is not just about the immediate action, but also about the long-term recovery. Please click here for a document that summarises all the data collated or check the information below browsing by islands or by the survey questions. If you have answers to the questions (or updates) above please send your responses on line by completing the survey here. If you know people who may have answers we would be very grateful if you could share this page to them. Preliminary findings from the survey have been published by SCELG and Island Innovation in a SCELG Policy Brief.


The page includes information from islands from 34 countries. The information has been kindly shared by people either living on the island or aware of the situation on a specific island. 

Pacific Ocean

Indian Ocean

Atlantic Ocean (Europe)

 Atlantic Ocean (Americas and Africa)



Lake islands

  • USA (Beaver Island and Put-in-Bay)
Survey questions Resources

Preliminary findings from the survey have been published by SCELG and Island Innovation in a SCELG Policy Brief: F Sindico and J Ellsmoor, Coronavirus: A Global Island Perspective, SCELG Policy Brief 14/2020. The survey has attracted a lot of media attention and has featured on BBC Orkney [from 12:18] and on CBC (Canadian Public Radio). Francesco has also been invited to contribute to a number of podcasts and events where he presented the work on islands and Covid-19: OTOK Podcast, Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation (CRRF) Rural Routes Podcast “Rural and Island responses to COVID-19 panel interview” and Scotland Rural College Island webinar series (forthcoming).

Island Innovation has been leading a series of Covid-19 related webinars with over 3,500 registered attendees and coverage in outlets such as the Jamaica Observer:

  • Island Responses to COVID-19 – Discussion with representatives from Greenland, the Maldives, Canary Islands and Anguilla.
  • The Economic Future of the Caribbean: Life After COVID-19 – Discussion with representatives from Barbados, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia and Sint Maarten.
  • Responding to COVID-19 in Jamaica – Discussion with representatives from various angles of the Jamaican economy: government, finance, private sector & media.

Further webinars and events on islands and Covid-19 have been organised by the UN Local 2030 Islands Hub hosted by Hawai’i Green Growth and Global Island Partnership (GLISPA):

  • Island Platform on COVID-19 Response – Sharing, Support, Solutions, discussion with Guam. Grenada, UN Foundation, Global Island Partnership and Hawai’i Green Growth Local2030 Hub [watch the recording here]
  • How are islands addressing COVID-19 related disruptions to the tourism economy? What are their ideas on building back better? Discussion with representatives from Galápagos Islands, Hawaiʻi, and Curaçao, and responses from the Philippines and the Cook Islands [watch the recording here]
  • Strengthening island food security to address impacts of COVID-19 and achieve long term sustainability, discussion with Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Hawaiʻi, and other islands

The information on this page is the result of the combined efforts of the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance (SCELG) and Island Innovation and is led by Francesco Sindico and James Ellsmoor. Two SCELG research assistants, Nicola Sharman and Patricia Berlouis, both students on the Strathclyde LLM in Global Environmental Law and Governance, have collated the information coming from the islands.

Discover more about the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance