PH bottom again in COVID resilience ranking, but has ‘better handle’ of pandemic now

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2021 02:55 AM

People flock to the Manila North Cemetery to visit their departed loved ones on October 27, 2021. According to officials, over 8,000 people have already visited the cemetery 2 days ahead of its closure on October 29. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People flock to the Manila North Cemetery to visit their departed loved ones on October 27, 2021. According to officials, over 8,000 people have already visited the cemetery 2 days ahead of its closure on October 29. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—For a second month in a row, the Philippines placed last in a list of 53 countries in Bloomberg's latest monthly COVID Resilience Ranking. 

Other Southeast Asian countries also remained bottom of the list, with Indonesia going one place up to 48 from last months. Malaysia went one spot up to 50, while Thailand dropped one place to 51.

Vietnam and the Philippines remained at 52 and 53, respectively.

“While other Southeast Asian nations also continue to be ranked low among the 53 economies tracked, the Philippines fares among the worst on vaccine coverage, with just 26% of the population covered amid challenges in bringing shots to areas outside of the big cities,” Bloomberg said. 

The ranking is based on 12 data points related to virus containment, the economy and opening up, Bloomberg said. 

Screengrab of Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking showing the Philippines at the bottom of the list
Screengrab of Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking showing the Philippines at the bottom of the list

The United Arab Emirates joined European countries Ireland, Spain, Denmark and Finland in the top 5 countries, with Ireland first for a second month despite rising cases.

Bloomberg said the Philippines' ongoing curbs on domestic movement, including a ban on children in malls and public spaces, along with international travel restrictions, continued to drag down the country's score, "a reflection of the country’s conservative approach to reopening the economy amid concerns about its fragile healthcare system."

"The capital Manila has allowed more businesses to open their doors again, including gyms and cinemas, but it’s still behind neighbors like Thailand and Indonesia which are back to embracing tourists," Bloomberg added.

Bloomberg, however, noted that the decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases is a positive development for the Philippines.

"The percentage of those testing positive for the virus has declined significantly from nearly one in three in September to about 12%, indicating the Philippines has a better handle on its outbreak than before and is catching cases. That could pave the way for more reopening going forward," it added.

The government has said that it aims to fully vaccinate 77.1 million Filipinos this year. But according to ABS-CBN’s vaccine tracker, only 26.1 million have so far been fully vaccinated, representing just 26 percent of the target after almost 8 months. 

The Philippines has consistently ranked near the bottom of Bloomberg’s COVID index, which government officials said was “unfair.”

Among the hardest hit by the pandemic in Asia, the Philippines has over 2.7 million total COVID-19 cases, with 42,348 deaths.

Despite faring poorly in international rankings in terms of pandemic response, President Rodrigo Duterte remains popular, according to a recently released survey.

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