Philippines again in last spot in COVID-19 resilience ranking

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Philippines again in last spot in COVID-19 resilience ranking
Shop attendants wait for customers inside a dry goods market in Quezon city, suburban Manila on January 27, 2022.
AFP / Maria Tan

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines once again placed at the bottom of a ranking that measures the resilience and response of the world’s biggest 53 economies to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a score of 48.3, the Philippines dropped to the last spot in Bloomberg’s COVID-19 resilience ranking for the third time in the last five months. The country placed 50th last month.

“Difficulties administering vaccines in remote areas continue to be a vulnerability as the country sees an Omicron surge worse than other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand,” Bloomberg said.

It also said that developing nations, including the Philippines, are struggling to administer COVID-19 vaccines due to logistical issues.

The ranking is based on 12 indicators related to virus containment, quality of healthcare, immunization coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward opening borders.

The Philippine government has repeatedly dismissed the Bloomberg ranking, saying it does not cover all countries in the world. Lawyer Harry Roque, a former Palace spokesperson, said in September 2021 that "being in last place does not mean we are in last place in the entire world."

"We’re only last among the countries studied by Bloomberg," he also said.

Record surge

Authorities tightened curbs in Metro Manila and other provinces in recent weeks as the hyper-contagious Omicron variant drove a record surge in COVID-19 cases. A total of 1,153 Omicron cases have been detected in the country.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Monday that infections in the capital region and surrounding areas were decreasing, while other provinces in Luzon were showing signs of plateauing.

Since March 2021, only 58.1 million people have completed vaccination against COVID-19, while 60 million have received partial protection. More than 6.8 million individuals have received booster shots.

The United Arab Emirates topped the Bloomberg’s COVID-19 resilience ranking, followed by Saudi Arabia, Finland, Turkey, Singapore.

Joining Philippines in the bottom rungs of the ranking were Argentina (49th), Russia (50th), Romania (51st), and Vietnam (52nd).

In the Philippines, more than 3.4 million cases have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, with more than 53,000 deaths.

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