Southeast Asian Countries Are the Laggards in Bloomberg's COVID-19 Resilience Index
The Philippines placed second to the last again out of 53 countries in Bloomberg's list of "best and worst places" to be during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Delta variant set back the world's reopening plans.
But it's not just the Philippines that lags behind the rest of the world in pandemic resilience. Its Southeast Asian neighbors are also laggards.
Southeast Asia Occupies the Bottom Five
The Philippines slipped three places to 52nd place in August, the same as June, ahead of Malaysia in 53rd place. Rounding up the bottom five are Thailand in 49th, Vietnam in 50th, and Indonesia in 51st.
The Bloomberg index is a monthly snapshot of how 53 of the world's biggest economies handle the pandemic. Norway kept the top spot in August, making it the best place to be in during the pandemic.
Bloomberg noted how the bottom 10 in the list, including the Philippines, are dominated by developing economies "whose vaccine rollouts are lagging, reflecting how the world’s poorest are largely facing delta with no shield of inoculation."
"This inequality is likely to only worsen going forward, as rich nations announce plans to administer booster shots for fully vaccinated people, hoovering up even more of the scarce supply," it added.
18 Percent of Filipinos are Fully Vaccinated
In the Philippines, over 14 million people have so far been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is only 18.44 percent of the 77 million target population six months into the nationwide vaccination rollout.
The spread of the Delta coronavirus variant also upended the success of many countries in curbing infections, Bloomberg said.
New Zealand, the longest-reigning No. 1 in the COVID Resilience Ranking when it was first released in December, fell 26 spots "after the nation’s domestic life went from the most relaxed to the strictest."
The U.S. and Israel, which led other nations in terms of vaccination and reopening of borders, also dropped 20 and 19 spots, respectively, as the Delta variant caused a surge of new infections.
Delta is Now the Dominant Variant in the Philippines
The World Health Organization said Delta is now the dominant coronavirus variant in the Philippines, citing Department of Health data showing that 70% of positive COVID test results were found to be due to variant after genome sequencing.
"We encourage people to take the vaccine because we know it is safe, effective, it will save you from severe disease and potential death," WHO Philippines representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe said.
On Saturday, the Philippines tallied 20,741 new COVID cases, the third time in the week that the daily jump exceeded 20,000.
This story originally appeared on Reportr.World. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.