MANILA - After months of languishing near the bottom, the Philippines jumped 46 spots in the latest Nikkei Asia COVID-19 Recovery Index.
From 103rd place in October, the country was ranked 57th in a list of 122 countries as of Nov. 30.
Nikkei said this was mainly due to "a significant increase in its infection management scores."
The Nikkei Global Recovery Index assesses the infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility of countries. The higher the ranking, the closer a place is to recovery, it said.
Malacañang said it welcomes improved ranking of the Philippines in the Nikkei Asia index.
"This latest index is a clear indication that we have successfully contained the highly transmissible Delta variant," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
The Philippines has been recording its lowest number of cases while some hospitals reported zero COVID-19 patients for the first time since the pandemic due to various efforts such as the government's aggressive vaccination program.
The government has said that it aims to vaccinate 70 percent of its 101 million population by the end of the year. As of Dec. 6, 38.6 million have been fully vaccinated.
But the Nikkei report also noted that the short-term case fatality rate of the country is at over 9 percent, "the second-highest in the world."
The Philippines has gradually lowered mobility restrictions to Alert Level 2 which allows more businesses to reopen. The country is now also considered "low-risk" for COVID-19 following the decline of fresh infections, the Department of Health said.
The Philippines has tightened border controls due to the emergence of the COVID-19 omicron variant. So far though, no case of the new variant has been confirmed in the country.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said monetary policy would remain accommodative despite the emergence of the omicron variant, adding there is some exaggeration on its impact.
The BSP said the Philippines was able to control the Delta variant while balancing economic recovery, with GDP expanding 7.1 percent in the third quarter despite 2 lockdowns within the period.
The Philippines' economic managers earlier said the country's growth could revert to pre-pandemic levels as early as 2022.
Meanwhile, Taiwan and China were at No. 4 and No. 6 spots, respectively due to their "zero-COVID strategies." Japan bagged the 7th spot, remaining within the top 10 for 2 consecutive months, the report said.
Unlike the Philippines, South Korea dropped 19 spots to 37th place, the report said. Vietnam also fell 23 places following a record high cases in the past week.
India appears "particularly vulnerable" but it also it rose 11 places to the 11th spot, Nikkei said.
Bloomberg, which runs a similar index, ranked the Philippines at the bottom in its latest report.
The National Economic and Development Authority meanwhile has come up with its own scorecard for assessing the effectiveness of the country's pandemic response.
- With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News