As of December 21, 2020, Timor Leste has 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases and no related deaths. Timor Leste declared a state of emergency and instituted a national lockdown on March 28, restricting movement and gatherings while still allowing for the operation of some vendors subject to social distancing rules. The lockdown has since been lifted, allowing most businesses to reopen, but mask-wearing and social distancing remain compulsory. Meanwhile, the state of emergency has been extended through the beginning of 2021. Mandatory quarantine for foreign arrivals (mostly Timorese students returning from Indonesia) and a robust COVID-19 monitoring and testing system have allowed Timor Leste to attain the rare status of being one of the few countries with no deaths and no current active cases. However, the economic impact of the pandemic on the country has been considerable, resulting in rising unemployment and growing food insecurity. In addition to other forms of relief, the government has been able to use fiscal reserves to finance direct cash transfers to low-income households from June onwards, and secured grants from the World Bank and other international organizations to strengthen its healthcare system in anticipation of reopening borders and boosting economic activity.
Timor Leste Remains Vulnerable to COVID-19 (May 6, 2020)