Remote Alaska Villages Isolate Themselves Further in Effort to Shield Against Coronavirus

Most small Alaska villages can be reached only by plane or snowmobile. Many still harbor the intergenerational scars from previous epidemics of influenza, smallpox and tuberculosis, all of which killed thousands of Alaska Natives.

Now, some of those villages are choosing to further isolate themselves in hopes of delaying the arrival of the coronavirus, tribal and village leaders say.

As of Friday, a number of villages said they were banning outright all nonemergency travel to and from their tiny, farflung communities. Others were asking that any visitors who might try to land via small propeller planes in the communities of 100 to 500 people first seek tribal permission.