COVID Impact On British Expats

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Countries across Europe are reporting record numbers of COVID cases as medical services across the continent struggle to cope with the Omicron variant.

Thankfully, Omicron is milder than the Delta variant that gripped the UK and Europe in 2021.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned a surge of cases in Europe in a week is pushing health services towards the brink of collapse.

Although COVID is rampant worldwide, the number of cases in Europe is ahead of the rest of the world – for instance, the Americas posted a 30 per cent increase in cases last week, compared with 57 per cent in Europe.

To make sense of the data, we’ve extracted the latest stats for the top 20 countries around the world where British expats live.

British Expats And COVID

This data takes the global destinations with the largest British expat populations and ranks them by COVID cases since the pandemic first took a grip in January 2020.

The USA – home to 678,000 Brit expats – has seen the worst of COVID with 58,000 cases and 851,000 deaths.

In Europe, Spain, Germany and France have all suffered badly during the pandemic with more than 24 million cases and 330,000 deaths.

The UK ranks as the fourth worst COVID affected country with nearly 150,000 deaths and over 13.5 million coronavirus cases.

How favourite expat destinations rank for COVID

Countries are ranked by the number of British expats who have moved there.


CountryBritish expat populationPopulationCasesDeathsCases per 1m peopleDeaths per 1m peopleCOVID rank
1Australia1,300,00025,945,846612,3882,29023,6038861
2Spain761,00046,782,0936,785,28689,689145,0401,9179
3United States678,000333,929,49058,040,720851,439173,8112,5501
4Canada603,00038,241,0532,352,52430,45261,51879623
5Ireland291,0005,020,927867,1995,912172,7171,17748
6New Zealand215,0005,002,10014,405402,88010169
7South Africa212,00060,435,7123,483,59091,45157,6411,51318
8France200,00065,491,34810,589,505124,563161,6931,9025
9Germany115,00084,187,9727,279,025113,47186,4621,3488
10Portugal60,00010,151,8601,460,40619,015143,8561,87333
11Cyprus59,0001,220,611183,178646150,071529103
12UAE55,00010,070,515774,8972,17076,94721551
13Pakistan47,000227,352,8121,298,76328,9505,71312739
14Singapore45,0005,919,713281,59683247,56914189
15Switzerland45,0008,750,0521,385,36512,359158,3261,41235
16Israel44,0009,326,0001,423,2898,247152,61588434
17Netherlands44,00017,192,0533,198,83520,990186,0651,22119
18Thailand41,00070,064,1302,239,47521,76931,96331125
19China36,0001,439,323,776102,9324,636723115
20Turkey34,00085,707,0849,652,39482,932112,6219687










World295,734,435239,92737,940703

UK13,641,520148,941199,3682,1774
Source: Worldometer.com

Expats And COVID Vaccinations

The favourite destination countries with the best COVID vaccination rates are Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ranking first, and Portugal, which lies in sixth place.

The UAE reports the remarkable figure of 99 per cent of the population vaccinated against COVID, with 93 per cent double-jabbed and 38 per cent boosted.

The UK comes in at 37th place. Pakistan and South Africa have yet to start booster programs.

Delivering third COVID shots is proving slow in several countries, like New Zealand and Australia, which are home to around 2 million British expats.

The table is ranked by countries with the largest British expat populations:


CountryBritish expat populationPopulationVaccinatedFully vaccinatedBoostedVaccine rank
1Australia1,300,00025,945,84681%78%11%20
2Spain761,00046,782,09385%81%31%11
3United States678,000333,929,49074%62%22%47
4Canada603,00038,241,05385%78%22%12
5Ireland291,0005,020,92779%78%45%29
6New Zealand215,0005,002,10081%78%7.5%19
7South Africa212,00060,435,71232%27%128
8France200,00065,491,34879%74%34%28
9Germany115,00084,187,97274%71%40%46
10Portugal60,00010,151,86090%89%30%6
11Cyprus59,0001,220,61155%51%22%86
12UAE55,00010,070,515>99%93%38%1
13Pakistan47,000227,352,81246%33%107
14Singapore45,0005,919,71384%83%11%13
15Switzerland45,0008,750,05270%68%26%59
16Israel44,0009,326,00073%66%47%52
17Netherlands44,00017,192,05377%70%14%36
18Thailand41,00070,064,13073%65%8.9%50
19China36,0001,439,323,77690%86%8.6%5
20Turkey34,00085,707,08468%62%29%63









UK68,423,76178%71%51%37
Source: New York Times

Countries Tackling COVID Best

The top COVID testing nation is the USA, where more than 820 million tests have been carried out.

France(188 million), Turkey (120 million)and the UAE (113 million) take the other top testing places in British expat destinations.

To find out which countries have the best COVID stats, a point was awarded for table placings, for example the UAE gained one point for topping the vaccination rate table, while the USA scored two points for taking the first place for COVID cases and tests delivered.

The score for COVID cases, vaccinations and testing were added. Each country was then ranked, with first place going to the country with the lowest score.

Here’s the table:

RankCountryScoreCOVIDVaccinationTesting
1Spain3491114
2France385285
3United States491471
4Canada53231218
5UAE6251110
6Germany6684612
7Portugal7133632
8Turkey797639
9Netherlands93193638
10Australia98612017
11Israel109345223
12Thailand116255041
13China (including Hong Kong)12611556
14Ireland132482955
15Switzerland140355946
16Singapore141891339
17Pakistan1813910735
18South Africa1831812837
19Cyprus2451038656
20New Zealand2581691970

The UK scored 45, which would have meant a third place ranking above the USA.

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