PH at bottom of Bloomberg COVID-19 resilience ranking for 3rd straight month

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The country takes the last spot of the global COVID-19 resilience ranking for the third month in a row, with Bloomberg noting vaccination efforts still haven't been enough to rise from the bottom.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 30) - The Philippines failed to work its way up from the bottom of a global COVID-19 resilience ranking, settling at the last spot for the third month in a row.

The country remained at 53rd place of the newest Bloomberg report - which captures, on a monthly basis, how effectively the "world's biggest 53 economies" are responding to the pandemic.

In the list released on Tuesday, Bloomberg gave the Philippines a resilience score of 43.1. This is slightly higher than the grade last month, but still three notches lower than that of neighboring country Indonesia, which placed second to the last with 46.1.

Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 cases nationwide have been declining. From the single-day count reaching around 4,000 in end-October - when the previous Bloomberg report was issued - new daily infections fell to below a thousand in the last seven days.

Vaccine supply has also been improving in the Philippines, home to about 110 million people. The government said around 83.8 million doses have been given to 47.5 million Filipinos as of Nov. 29. On Nov. 30, during the start of the three-day national vaccination drive, officials said a daily record-high 2.55 million shots were administered.

But Bloomberg said this is not yet enough to leave the bottom rung.

Based on its data, the Philippines and Indonesia are among the 11 of 53 countries which have administered less than 100 vaccine shots per 100 people. This is something it described as a "key barrier to improving their scores."

Meanwhile, two other Southeast Asian nations - Vietnam and Malaysia - are also in the bottom five of the international news agency's list. Notably joining them is Poland, which slipped by 16 spots amid a new surge in cases.

Tagged this month as the "best place" to live in during the pandemic is the United Arab Emirates, which garnered the highest resilience score at 73.2. It is followed by Chile, Finland, Ireland, and Spain.

Omicron variant

For its assessment, Bloomberg said it uses several indicators - including virus containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward reopening borders to tourists.

In the latest ranking, the impact of the newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant came into play.

This new threat, of which much is still unknown, pushed South Africa down by seven spots - landing at the 45th place - after other parts of the world cut off travel access to the country.

READ: What we know and don't know about the Omicron variant

South Africa is the first to sequence Omicron and is where the variant "appears to be spreading the fastest," Bloomberg said. With the nation's relatively low vaccination rate, caused in part by the "perverse consequences of global vaccine inequality," it further noted that cases and positive test rates in the area have been on the rise.

Omicron has also already been reported in over a dozen other countries, several of which still enjoy a spot in the upper half of the resilience ranking. These include Spain, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.

According to Bloomberg, the new variant may further test nations' resilience to the health crisis in the coming weeks. The situation may prove especially more challenging to those in the northern hemisphere, it added, as the winter period also sends more people indoors, triggering fresh outbreaks and restrictions.