If you live in the UK, you may not be permitted to move to these countries. Please consult the restrictions put in place by the UK government and your chosen country’s authorities.

You want to take the leap and start afresh in a new country – but of course, you also want to be safe from COVID-19.

Fortunately, there are nations out there that took the global pandemic seriously from the beginning, have been through – or even avoided – the worst of the virus, and are getting back to normality.

Can you move there? Well, the UK’s third lockdown has severely limited people’s movements, but the Home Office has told Movehub that British nationals are still allowed to move abroad for work.

We were also told that you’re free to move internationally if you can justify your journey with one of the following reasons, which come from the government’s national guidance:

  • Accessing education
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Visiting your support bubble or childcare bubble
  • Medical appointments
  • Medical appointments for an animal
  • The purchase of goods or services you need
  • Outdoor exercise

Whether you’re able to move at the moment – and where you can move to – depends heavily on your circumstances. The great majority of British nationals won’t be able to relocate to any of these countries, but if you can, you’re in luck.

woman looking at flight schedule in airport

It’s hard to know where you can go during this global pandemic

The 7 safest countries right now

The UK hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory, compared to these countries


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Taiwan has done incredibly well in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The East Asian country of 24 million people has only recorded 933 cases of the virus, and has suffered just nine deaths.

That’s fewer fatalities than Monaco, which has the highest GDP per person in the world, according to the World Bank, as well as a population of 39,000 – which is 615 times smaller than Taiwan.

Most importantly, there’s been only two deaths in Taiwan since 12 May, according to Our World in Data.

Taiwan learned harsh lessons from the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which killed 73 people in the country. In 2004, it set up the National Health Command Centre, which has sprung into action during this pandemic.

On 31 December 2019, after limited reports of a dangerous virus in China, officials boarded flights from Wuhan (where the virus started spreading) to test passengers.

Taiwan closed its borders on 19 March, and started tracking the phones of people in quarantine. If you break quarantine, you can be fined £26,000 – and people have been.

In December, one man was fined £2,600 after stepping out of his quarantine room for just eight seconds.

As a result of quickly implementing these tough actions, the country has never had to go into lockdown – and by July 2020, Taiwan was comfortable enough to donate 51 million masks to countries in need.

The public has embraced the need for face masks so enthusiastically that cases of stomach flu have also dropped by 90% during the pandemic.

In short, Taiwan is your best, safest choice.


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Vietnam is home to 96 million people, shares a border with China, and is one of just two countries on this list that’s not an island.

Despite these disadvantages, the communist country has stopped COVID-19 in its tracks, losing just 35 people to the virus, and none since 3 September.

In mid-January 2020, before Vietnam had any confirmed cases – and in fact before the virus was known as COVID-19 – the government started urgently developing an action plan.

When the first case emerged on 23 January, the country was prepared. It established travel restrictions, health checks at vulnerable locations, and border closures.

There hasn’t been a national lockdown in Vietnam, but the government has sealed off villages, towns, and even individual streets, according to the nation’s Ministry of Health.

Around 10,000 people in Son Loi were cut off after several cases were confirmed there in February 2020, as well as 11,000 people in Ha Loi two months later.

And by the middle of March, the government was funneling anyone who entered the country or who’d had contact with an infected person into quarantine centres for 14 days.

The approach worked.

Professor Guy Thwaites, director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, told BBC News that Vietnam “very, very quickly acted in ways which seemed to be quite extreme at the time, but were subsequently shown to be rather sensible.”

And despite the authoritarian state’s tendency to control information and crack down on its residents’ freedom of speech – which has also been present during the pandemic – Professor Thwaites said there was no reason to doubt the reports.

Harvard Medical School infectious diseases specialist Todd Pollack agreed with this assessment, telling the Financial Times: “The numbers are credible.”

a view of Hạ Long Bay, Vietnam

You too could gaze out on Hạ Long Bay, if you’re allowed into the country


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When COVID-19 first emerged in China, the country’s authoritarian government moved to publicly minimise the dangers, bury negative information, and lobby against terming the crisis a global health emergency.

In Wuhan, where the virus originated, the government allowed 40,000 families to gather for a celebration in January 2020.

This approach helps to explain why 61% of people in a dozen developed countries think China has handled COVID-19 badly, according to the Pew Research Centre.

But once the government moved past those initial mistakes, it quickly mobilised local authorities to halt the spread and limit the damage caused by the pandemic.

Neighbour committee members living in residential buildings noted who came in and out of the compound, recorded inhabitants’ temperatures, and strictly enforced lockdowns.

There was no reason for people to leave their homes, as members donned hazmat suits to take out residents’ rubbish and deliver their groceries.

And those flying into the country still have a doctor, policeman, and committee member assigned to them, who escort the person to a mandatory quarantine.

If the person chooses to spend the period in their home, a device is attached to their front door. If they open the door, the doctor and committee member will receive an alert and call them to ask why.

China is also reportedly able to test 3.8 million samples per day, and has locked down cities like Wuhan and Qingdao and tested millions of its residents in an effort to stop the virus in its tracks.

Because of these actions, the country has one of the lowest rates of death per million inhabitants in the world, has only recorded 71.9 cases per million people, and hasn’t seen more than six daily deaths since mid-April 2020.

It’s impressive that a country of 1.4 billion people has reined in such a deadly, infectious pandemic – though unfortunately, having an authoritarian government with a laissez-faire approach to civil rights helps.

New Zealand

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On the flip side is the liberal bastion of New Zealand. With just 25 deaths since its first case was recorded, the island nation’s progressive leader Jacinda Ardern has been lauded for her approach to the virus.

The government moved quickly. The day after the first COVID-19 death outside China, any foreign person coming from or through China was barred from entering New Zealand.

Restrictions were rapidly placed on those coming from other virus hotspots like Iran, Italy, and South Korea, and from 16 March, everyone arriving in New Zealand (apart from Pacific Islanders) had to self-isolate.

And Ardern’s government soon had the same realisation as their counterparts in Vietnam: an outbreak would be disastrous for the country’s limited health service, and consequently for its citizens.

With this in mind, the country moved quickly from trying to flatten the curve to aiming for complete elimination of COVID-19.

New Zealand went into strict lockdown in March, and completely closed its borders. At that point, there were just 102 cases, and no deaths.

This six-week lockdown was used to develop a massive test-and-trace programme that now allows the country to test 6,700 people per day, on average.

The strategy has worked a treat, with New Zealand’s daily case numbers never exceeding 89, even at the virus’s peak in April 2020.

The government’s actions were overwhelmingly popular with its citizens, which was reflected in Ardern’s landslide re-election win in October 2020.

The day after the election, 46,000 fans flooded into Auckland’s Eden Park to watch New Zealand’s rugby union team beat Australia.

Blue Pools, Haast Pass, New Zealand, South Island

New Zealand went into lockdown before suffering any COVID-19 deaths


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Singapore has the third-highest population density in the world, putting its 5.7 million people at huge risk of suffering massive casualties from a viral pandemic like COVID-19.

The fact that the city-state has done so well at limiting deaths – with only 29 fatalities recorded so far – is phenomenal.

Singapore has seen more than 59,000 cases of COVID-19 – a higher number per million than countries like the UK, Italy, and Mexico, which have all suffered terrible losses.

But the clearest sign of Singapore’s success has been its 0.05% death rate.

When the country got its first case on 23 January, its authorities leapt into action. The disease didn’t even have a name yet.

As well as health checks at airports and testing anyone suspected of having the virus, Singapore also found any people who’d been in contact with a confirmed case and quarantined them until they tested negative.

When cases surged in April, the government instituted a lockdown.

If residents went outside for anything apart from essential activities or exercise, they could be fined up to S$10,000 (£5,700) – or sentenced to six months in prison.

With zero deaths in the past month, you can move to Singapore with peace of mind.


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Australia has also suffered no deaths over the past month, thanks to its decision to enter one of the world’s lengthiest, strictest lockdowns in July 2020.

After the second wave hit, the country was seeing hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths every single day, so it acted quickly to stop the spread.

Victoria, where the outbreak originated, locked down for 112 days – and it worked.

Australia’s success has also been secured by developing effective test-and-trace systems, closing the borders, and even shutting some internal borders between states to limit transmission.

As a result of these swift, productive policies, public trust in the federal government has risen from 29% before the pandemic to 54% halfway through 2020.

This virtuous cycle has helped convince more people to follow guidelines, which in turn has allowed the authorities to lift restrictions.


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Iceland is the fifth island on this list, which shows it’s easier to avoid a disastrous outbreak if you’re surrounded by water – though not simple enough for some countries.

Iceland started testing on 31 January, four weeks before the country recorded its first case on 28 February.

The government tracked each individual case, and managed to control the spread while imposing relatively mild restrictions.

From 24 March, no more than 20 people could gather in one place, but just two months later on 25 May, this was upgraded to 200.

Just seven weeks later, on 5 July, the government stated that 500 people could gather.

The country has allowed in visitors from the Schengen Area (which includes the UK), as long as they take a COVID-19 test.

And don’t worry, Iceland isn’t just being blasé with tourists’ wellbeing. The country’s policies have worked extremely well.

There have been no deaths in the previous four weeks, according to Our World in Data, after a second wave in November was quickly overcome.

In the past month, Iceland has recorded just 40 cases.

In total, there have been 6,025 cases and 29 deaths – meaning people in the Nordic nation who contract the virus have a thankfully small 0.48% death rate.

And if you’re looking for another reason you’ll be safe there, Iceland has been the most peaceful country in the world since 2008, according to the Global Peace Index.

Iceland is stunning, and has an excellent healthcare system


So there you have it: the safest countries in the world, if you can get in. All of them are islands and/or have authoritarian governments.

We need to give credit as well to countries like Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which have already given a COVID-19 vaccine to 63% and 45% of their citizens, respectively.

They will almost certainly win the race to vaccinate their residents first, and will therefore be among the safest countries in the world at some point in 2021 – in terms of COVID-19, at least.

It’s worth emphasising too that a nation’s safety can be compromised in next to no time.

For example, in mid-December 2020, Thailand – a country of 69 million – hadn’t seen more than 50 new daily cases for eight months. Less than two months later, cases were accelerating at a rate of 800 per day.

So make sure to check the latest statistics before you move, and keep to local restrictions after you arrive. Doing so will save countless lives.

If you’re ready to start a new life in a different country, just fill in this form and our suppliers will give you a quote for shipping your possessions there.