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For the third time, PH ranks as the worst place to be in the pandemic, but Malacanang says Bloomberg study lacks context

By AYIE LICSI Published Dec 01, 2021 4:51 pm

Yet again, the Philippines has ranked as the wost place to be in the middle of the pandemic as based on Bloomberg's COVID November Resilience Ranking, but Malacañang said the survey lacks context.

Out of 53 countries, the Philippines landed at the bottom of the ranking for the third month in a row, followed by other Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

The lowest two places, according to Bloomberg, have given out less than 100 COVID shots per 100 people, which is a key barrier to improving scores.

Countries at the bottom of the COVID Resilience Ranking.

The resilience ranking is a monthly snapshot of where the virus is being handled most effectively out of the 53 ranked countries. The country's virus containment, healthcare quality, vaccination coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward restarting travel are indicators also taken into consideration.

Dominating the ranking is the United Arab Emirates, where cases have stayed below a hundred since mid-October, Chile, and Finland.

Countries in the top ranking.
Omicron variant

With the new Omicron variant detected in countries like South Africa, Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Botswana, Japan, and more, reopening efforts in some countries, like Israel and Japan where borders to foreigners have been slammed shut, have been reversed.

Bloomberg also sees that the new strain may change the low case count and strong economic recovery in Chile, Finland, and other countries high in the ranking.

South Africa, the country that first detected the Omicron strain, dropped seven spots as cases and positive test rates are on the rise while their vaccination rate remains low at 43 per 100 people.

'Little consideration for country-specific COVID-19 context—Malacañang

Malacañang has responded to the Philippines' low ranking, saying the ranking's indicators should be considered in "country-specific context." Acting spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles noted how each country has different experiences and strategies with handling the virus.

"There is little consideration for country-specific COVID-19 context, which in our view is imperative to objectively assess how countries managed pandemic response," he said in a statement.

Nograles defended the country's pandemic response, noting the alert level systems, granular lockdowns, and recent low 425 active case count as improvement indicators.

Nograles also listed the 7.1% third-quarter growth as a sign of progress for the Philippines.

"Our economic team will continue to put a greater emphasis on our country-specific conditions or context in order to craft policies that are more responsive to our people’s needs and the requisites of economic recovery," he concluded.