The Philippines maintained its tail-end position in Bloomberg’s best and worst countries ranking to be in during the pandemic despite marked improvements in preventing the virus’ spread.
DESPITE an obvious marked decrease in the number of new cases and the increasing number of people being inoculated, the Philippines still holds the bottom rung of the Bloomberg’s best and worst places in terms of Covid-19 resiliency in November.
According to Bloomberg, the Philippines fares among the worst on vaccine coverage, with just 26 percent of the population covered amid challenges in bringing shots to areas outside of the big cities.
Based on Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking for November, the Philippines is again at the bottom of a list of 53 countries, having a resilience score of 43.1.
This means the Philippines did not move from its 53rd spot in Bloomberg's COVID Resilience Ranking in October when it had a resilience score of 40.5.
In June, the country placed 52nd and dropped to 53rd in September, with a resilience score of 40.2.
According to report, the Philippines has only given out 73.2 doses per 100 people.
UAE is tops
The report named the United Arab Emirates as the best place to live in during the pandemic with a resilience score at 73.2, followed by Chile (72.6), Finland (71.3), Ireland (71.2), and Spain (70.9).
"After dominating the top rungs of Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking for months, Europe has largely been dethroned with the United Arab Emirates — one of the most-consistent performers since the Ranking’s inception a year ago — becoming our new No. 1," Bloomberg said.
Among the "notable movers" in November were Iraq, India, Bangladesh, Argentina, Turkey, and Taiwan.
The indicators used in the report included vaccination coverage, virus containment, severity of lockdowns, quality of healthcare, progress toward restarting travel, and the overall mortality throughout the pandemic.
The report was released as the Philippines was in the middle of its massive three-day national vaccination program aimed inoculating some 9 million Filipinos against COVID-19.
GMA News Online and Inquirer reached out to Malacañang and the Department of Health (DOH) for their comments on the Philippines' ranking, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.
Earlier, the DOH had described Bloomberg's October report, where the Philippines also placed last, as unfair, GMA said.
While other Southeast Asian nations also continue to be ranked low among the 53 economies tracked, the Philippines fares among the worst on vaccine coverage, with just 26 percent of the population covered amid challenges in bringing shots to areas outside of the big cities, Bloomberg said.
In comparison, Indonesia and Vietnam -- ranked 48th and 52nd respectively this month -- have distributed enough vaccines to cover more than a third of their populations.
Ranked 50th, neighbor Malaysia has given out shots covering 76 percent of its population, the highest in the region except for Singapore.
The COVID Resilience Ranking uses a min-max methodology to score 53 countries between 0 to 100 from worst to best on 12 data points measuring Reopening Progress, Covid Status, and Quality of Life.
Ongoing curbs on movement domestically, including a ban on kids in malls and other public spaces, along with restrictions on international travel also drag on the Philippines’ score, a reflection of the country’s conservative approach to reopening the economy amid concerns about its fragile healthcare system.
Bloomberg noted that Manila has allowed more businesses to open their doors, including gyms and cinemas, but it’s still behind neighbors like Thailand and Indonesia which are back to embracing tourists.
The good news for the Philippines is that virus infections have ebbed after hitting a record high last month, driven by the spread of the more contagious delta variant.
The percentage of those testing positive for the virus has declined significantly from nearly one in three in September to about 12 percent, indicating the Philippines has a better handle on its outbreak than before and is catching cases.
That could pave the way for more reopenings going forward.
"The lowest two places on the Ranking have given out less than 100 Covid shots per 100 people, a key barrier to improving their scores," it added.
This is the third consecutive month it ranked the lowest with a resilience score of 43.1 — though it’s still a bit higher than its score of 40.5 last October.
The indicators used in the report include vaccination coverage, virus containment, the severity of lockdowns, quality of healthcare, progress toward restarting travel, and the overall mortality throughout the pandemic.
Southeast Asian nations continue to fill the bottom of the list with Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines landing in the bottom four.
Bloomberg showed that the Philippines has only given out 73.2 doses per 100 people, while Indonesia gave 87.3.
“The perverse consequences of global vaccine inequality has only been underscored by omicron’s emergence, something that scientists and the World Health Organization warned would happen — and will keep happening — until the developing world is able to more efficiently access and administer shots,” it added.
However, due to a recent surge in cases, the biggest drops were recorded in European nations with Austria dropping 31 points to 48th place and Poland plummeting to 49th.
Other notable drops in European countries include Switzerland, dropping 16 spots at 25; the Netherlands at 30, 20 spots below last month; and Germany and the Czech Republic now at 32 and 46 after dropping 19 and 26 spots, respectively.
The report came amid the emergence of the new Omicron variant, which the WHO itself immediately warning that it will likely spread internationally, posing a “vert high global risk.”
Bloomberg noted that its arrival will test how effective each country is in responding to the pandemic, which it will closely monitor in the December rankings.
“Will Omicron turn the clock back on the pandemic, or does the advent of Covid pills and booster shots light a permanent exit path?” Bloomberg said.
In the past few days, the Philippines has recorded fewer cases, with Nov. 30 marking its lowest daily count since July 2, 2020. It is also the seventh consecutive week the country recorded cases fewer than 1,000.
But local health experts have already warned about the dangers of the new Omicron variant, warning the public to get ready.
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