San Marino, the smallest republic in the world today has another unsavoury distinction. Like all other countries in the world it also devastated by Covid-19, but more than this, it has become country with the highest Covid-19 deaths per million population. This article will first profile the nation and its peculiarities first and then look into the reasons why it became so prone to Covid-19.
San Marino, the world’s smallest Republic is located between the longitude 12° 27′ E and latitude 43° 56′ N. It is at a height of 400m (altitude) above sea level. It is an enclave microstate in Southern Europe, on the north-eastern side of the Apennine Mountains, completely surrounded by Italy. San Marino covers a land area of just over 61 km2 (24 sq mi), and has a population of 33,562. Its capital is the City of San Marino and its largest settlement is Dogana in the municipality of Serravalle. San Marino has the smallest population of any member of the Council of Europe. The official language is Italian. San Marino maintains strong financial and ethno-cultural connections to its much larger neighbours. It is located close to the Riviera of Rimini, one of Italy’s main coastal resort areas. The highest point in the country, the summit of Monte Titano, is 749 m (2,457 ft) above sea level.
Political Map of San Marino
San Marino has no bodies of water of any significant size. The country derives its name from Saint Marinus, a stonemason from the Roman colony on the island of Rab, in modern-day Croatia. San Marino is governed by its constitution, the Leges Statutae Republicae Sancti Marini. The country’s economy is mainly based on finance, industry, services and tourism. San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, with a figure comparable to the most developed European regions with a highly stable economy, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe. There is no national debt and so they have a budget with surplus. San Marino has the world’s highest rate of car ownership, being the only country with more numbers of vehicles than number of people. It is one of only three countries in the world to be completely surrounded by another country (Vatican City, also surrounded by Italy, and Lesotho, surrounded by South Africa). San Marino is the 3rd smallest country in Europe, after Vatican City and Monaco, and the 5th smallest country in the world.
This country had the world’s first democratically elected communist government – a coalition between the Sammarinese Communist Party and the Sammarinese Socialist Party, which held office between 1945 and 1957. San Marino is the world’s smallest republic, although when Nauru gained independence in 1968 it challenged that claim, Nauru’s land mass being only 21 km2 (8.1 sq mi). San Marino became a member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and of the United Nations in 1992. It is neither a member of the European Union nor of the Eurozone, although it uses the euro as its currency. The climate of San Marino is a humid subtropical climate, with continental influences, having warm summers and cool winters that are typical of inland areas of the central Italian peninsula. Snowfalls are common and heavy almost every winter, especially above 400-500 m of altitude. San Marino has a population of approximately 33,000, with 4,800 foreign residents, most of whom are Italian citizens. The primary language spoken is Italian and one more language Romagnol is also widely spoken.
Although San Marino is not a European Union member, it is allowed to use the euro as its currency by arrangement with the Council of the European Union; it is also granted the right to use its own designs on the national side of the euro coins. San Marino’s per capita GDP and standard of living are comparable to that of Italy. Key industries include banking, electronics, and ceramics. The main agricultural products are wine and cheese. San Marino imports mainly staple goods from Italy. The Three Towers of San Marino are located on the three peaks of Monte Titano in the capital. They are depicted on both the flag of San Marino and its coat of arms. The three towers are: Guaita, the oldest of the three (it was constructed in the 11th century); the 13th-century Cesta, located on the highest of Monte Titano’s (Fig.3) summits; and the 14th-century Montale, on the smallest of Monte Titano’s summits, still privately owned. San Marino is a mostly Catholic state with 97% of the population profess the Roman Catholic faith, but Catholicism is not an established religion. The tourism sector contributes over 22% of San Marino’s GDP, with approximately 2 million tourists having visited in last 2014.
In the present on going pandemic killer disease that is COVID-19, San Marino is on the top list regarding the highest infection case as well as highest death rate per 1 million populations compared to any country in the world. The present rate of positive case is more than 17000 per one million population whereas the rate of death is more than 1200 per one million population.
San Marino and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronavirus(COVID-19) a pandemic disease which has infected more than 3.4 million people and killed 0.44 million people with an active cases of more than 2.1 million people, and with recovered of 1.1 million, believed to be originated from Wuhan city of China in December 2019 because of a deadly virus called SARS-Cov-2. Covid-19 has shown exponential curve in all the countries which are infected with this virus. After China it is believed to be spread to Italy with the help of flights so it is brought to this country from Italy as it resides almost inside the Italy. There are more than 1.3 million closed cases of which 82% people are recovered and discharged but unluckily 18% are death.
On January 22nd 2020 there were only 580 cases of positive and a death of only 17 worldwide but today it has crossed 3.3 million infections and more than 0.23 million death respectively. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting 212 countries.
Why this tiny country has highest rates of infection and deaths per one million of population of covid-19?
There are many different factors for the highest infection rate and death rate in the world. In the first place the possible reason could be because this country has done testing for the entire population for covid-19 test. Tiny San Marino is testing its entire population for coronavirus after being rocked by the one of highest outbreak death rates in the world. The microstate – surrounded by virus-plagued Italy – has seen one in every 120 inhabitants infected during the global pandemic. The virus is thought to have been brought into San Marino by commuters working outside it’s territory and the first confirmed case was at the end of February. San Marino went into immediate lockdown on March 1 – ten days before neighbouring Italy did and all entry into or out of the country is banned unless for exceptional work or health reasons. The health chief Gabriele Rinaldi has announced every single citizen in the country to be tested to see if they have coronavirus with those proving positive to put into quarantine. According to the country’s health ministry the majority of people who tested positive (31 per cent) are in the 51-64 years old bracket. If this country is not an aware one there might be chance of infection of all the countries and may be much more death compared to other countries in terms of number.
If San Marino is not a rich country there may be chances that the whole country might be extinct from this area but probably because of small population and tiny area they have managed everything very well. Now this tiny football loving country is in the world record because of its highest Positive cases / 1 million population and death per million populations compared to all other countries. This country though very some has many popular parameters in Europe as well as in the world. It is very exciting to know that this tiny country has been hiding inside the Italy is highlighted because of COVID-19 otherwise many people of the world are not aware of such small rich country, with a surplus economy and large numbers of car more than the number of population in this country. According to my study in the beginning of spread of covid-19 this small country has a similar weather conditions with Wuhan city of China, the temperature during April end was below 16 degree Celsius and the ultraviolet index was below 5 which seems to be the range of optimum condition for fast spreading of coronavirus.
The author is Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. He can be contact at [email protected]