In the latest monthly ranking of the best and worst places to be during the coronavirus pandemic, Malaysia and India recorded the steepest drops.
In general, Asia-Pacific countries did a laudable job of handling the coronavirus outbreak early on in the pandemic. Western countries, on the other hand – Europe and the US, most notably – were far less successful.
But 16 months later, the tables have turned. The virus’s worst surges first shifted to Latin America, and then, in a third wave that has been devastating for a number of countries, shifted back to Asia. South Asia and Southeast Asia have been particularly hard-hit. And as those countries struggle, the US and many European countries are starting to see a light at the end of the long tunnel, largely because of widespread vaccination.
According to Bloomberg, which compiles and publishes a monthly Covid Resilience Ranking, “The reversal of fortunes reflects the game-changing impact of vaccination, especially rollouts of the breakthrough mRNA shots that not only prevent serious disease and death, but appear to quell the virus’s spread.”
Their ranking uses a wide range of data to capture where the pandemic is being handled most effectively, with the least social and economic disruption – from mortality and testing rates to vaccine access and freedom of movement. Each month, it scores countries with economies of more than $200 billion (prior to the pandemic) on 10 core metrics. Then those 53 countries are ranked.
In the latest ranking, Malaysia plummeted 15 spots to 35th place. It was a steep fall out of the top 20, a plunge exceeded only by devastated India, which fell 20 places to number 50.
Thailand didn’t fare much better, dropping 14 places to 27th place. Even Taiwan, which had been widely praised for its early containment of the virus, tumbled 10 spots, owing largely to its desperately poor rate of vaccination (only 0.6% of the population is now covered).
Similarly, a big part of the drop in ranking for Malaysia is its slow vaccination rate and poor coverage. Singapore – which held the top spot in the ranking in April and dropped only one notch in the May report – has vaccinated 29.9% of its population. Malaysia, however, has only managed 3.6% to date (as of May 25).
Bloomberg’s vaccination analysis shows that, at the current rate, Malaysia will only achieve 75% immunisation coverage two years from now.
According to May’s Covid Resilience Ranking, the top 15 best countries to be in now, along with (rank change), if any:
- New Zealand (↑1)
- Singapore (↓1)
- South Korea (↑1)
- Finland (↑3)
- Norway (↑8)
- Denmark (↑6)
- China (↑3)
- Hong Kong
- United Kingdom (↑7)
- United Arab Emirates (↓4)
- United States (↑4)
- Japan (↓7)
- Taiwan (↓10)
Here is a snapshot of how Bloomberg builds its monthly Covid Resilience Ranking, which incorporates both healthcare and lifestyle data. For the complete details of the methodology, click here.
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