The latest edition of Nikkei’s COVID-19 Recovery Index that assessed 122 countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility saw the Philippines in familiar territory, ranking last place yet again.
The Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index ranks 121 countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts, and social mobility at the end of each month. A higher ranking indicates that a country or region is closer to recovery with low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, better vaccination rates and less-stringent social distancing measures.
The index calculates a score between 0 and 90 for each country or region. The score is the sum of three constituent categories and nine subcategories such as confirmed cases of COVID-19 versus peak case count, confirmed cases per capita, tests per case, total vaccine doses given per capita, new vaccine doses given per capita, share of people who have been fully vaccinated, community mobility, Oxford stringency index, and flight activities.
Some Southeast Asian countries where cases are falling and vaccinations are progressing rapidly moved up in the ranking. Indonesia jumped to 54th from 92nd while Malaysia rose to 102nd from 115th.
The last two spots were occupied by the Philippines and Laos while Vietnam was fourth from the bottom.
According to the report, in the Philippines, daily new cases have started to drop after hitting the second-highest level on September 29, falling below 10,000 on Tuesday for the first time since August. Less than 30 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, a low figure among ASEAN countries. The country is also gradually easing restrictions on businesses to revive the economy.
Vietnam, which was the worst performer in the previous two rankings, managed to receive a full score of 10 in the “new vaccines” subcategory as it is among the top 10 percent of countries administering the most vaccine doses daily per capita. Singapore, on the other hand, tumbled 56 places to 70th as it deals with an exponential rise in infections.
The rankings are fluid as the situation changes but the common factor among countries that have shown improvement is improved government response. Vietnam and Indonesia did it by ramping up vaccinations while the Philippines seems to be content with being stuck at the bottom of the barrel.
Global rankings give us an idea how well our government response is doing compared to other countries. Placing last in both Bloomberg and Nikkei rankings should be a wake-up call for our government to do better. We might need more than another late-night presidential address that chooses to focus on matters totally unrelated to the raging COVID pandemic.*