The Philippines placed last among 121 countries in the Nikkei Asia COVID-19 Recovery Index, highlighting pandemic challenges that caused it to fall to the bottom of a similar ranking by Bloomberg.
The Tokyo-based financial magazine gave the Philippines a score of 30.5 in its Sept. 30 index, which assessed countries and regions based on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility. The higher the ranking, the closer the country is to recovery, it added.
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According to Nikkei Asia, while the daily COVID-19 cases in the Philippines dropped to below 10,000 this week, the country's vaccination rate remains low and mobility is still restricted.
It pointed out that only less than 30% of the country's population is fully vaccinated, which is "low" even among ASEAN nations. While granular lockdowns were also piloted in Metro Manila, stay-at-home orders remain for individuals below 18 and above 65.
"The country is gradually easing restrictions on businesses to revive the economy, allowing gyms to reopen and increasing restaurant dining and salon capacities for vaccinated individuals," it added.
Vietnam, the worst performer in the two previous rankings, went up to the 118th spot as it improved its vaccination efforts, Nikkei said. While the country's vaccination rate has just passed 10%, over half of the population in Ho Chi Minh City are already fully vaccinated --- "a promising development for Vietnam's epicenter."
Other Southeast Asian nations also improved their ranking as their cases drop and vaccinations progress rapidly. These include Indonesia which jumped to 54th from 92nd place, and Malaysia which rose to 102nd from 115th.
Malta overtook China for the top spot in Nikkei Asia's latest ranking. Asia's largest economy, which used to be the epicenter of COVID-19, fell to the ninth place as its mobility score remains low.
The Nikkei Asia ranking came out just a week after Bloomberg also released its latest COVID-19 Resilience Ranking, which named the Philippines as the "worst place to be" during the pandemic.