MANILA - Nikkei Asia's latest global COVID-19 recovery assessment where the Philippines ranked last was conducted at a time the country was experiencing another surge in new infections, the Department of Health said Thursday.
The Nikkei Asia index, which calculates a score between 0 and 90 for each country or region based on infection management, vaccine rollouts, and social mobility, gave the Philippines 30.5 points, which ranks 121st out of 121 nations and territories.
It came a week after the Philippines also fell to the bottom of Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking.
According to the Nikkei Asia's COVID-19 Recovery Index, the Philippines still has one of the lowest vaccination rates since only 30% of the country's population have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus as of Sept. 30, lower even among ASEAN countries.
The study was conducted during a 7-day period last month, when the Philippines reached the peak of its latest surge, according to DOH spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
"Nung ginawa at mineasure ang infection rates natin dito po ang panahon na talagang mataas ang kaso sa ating bansa, kumpara sa ibang bansa na nakalipas na po ang peak of cases nila," she said in a virtual press briefing.
(When the infection rates was measured, this was the time that the number of cases in our country was really high compared with other countries which have already reached their peak.)
"Kaya po nandun talaga sa tugatog o peak nung nakuha ang metric na yan sa atin."
(The metric they got was during the peak of our cases.)
Vaccination programs in various parts of the country was affected by the lack of accessibility and supply, Vergeire added.
"Ang bakunanan din po was affected by this increase in the number of cases here in the country. Yun pong ating measure d'yan, erratic po kasi ang atin, not just these supplies but also the access because of this widespread infection during this outbreak that we had," she said.
(Our vaccination was affected by this increase in the number of cases here in the country. Our supplies and the access [to vaccine] was erratic because of this widespread infection during this outbreak that we had.)
Despite the low index ranking, the country's mortality rate remains below global average, Vergeire noted.
"Sinabi na rin po ng WHO, ang Pilipinas po ang isa sa mga bansa sa Asia na may pinakamababang case fatality rate, which means we're doing well in terms of managing severe and critical cases," she said.
(The World Health Organization has said the Philippines is among Asian countries that have low case fatality rate, which means we're doing well in terms of managing severe and critical cases.)
"Tayo rin po ay nakapag-ramp up na ng testing capacity kaya marami na po tayo nada-diagnose. Meron naman po tayong nakitang magandang nangyari sa ating response at ipagpapatuloy natin ito."
(We have also ramped up our testing capacity so we're able to diagnose more people. We're seeing good outcome and we will continue with this response.)
The country has so far fully vaccinated 22.6 million Filipinos, while 25.7 million have received their first dose as of Wednesday, according to government data.
It has recorded a total of 2,622,917 infections, of which 112,807 or 4.3 percent are active, the Department of Health said Wednesday.
The Philippines' first confirmed COVID-19 case was logged on Jan. 30 last year in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged.
The country's first COVID-related death was also the first outside of China. It involved a male companion of the Chinese woman.
The Philippines started its COVID-19 vaccination program last March 1.