Coronavirus: Global situation

NZ, Vietnam and Taiwan top Covid-19 performance index

SYDNEY • New Zealand, Vietnam and Taiwan are the top three in a Covid-19 performance index of almost 100 countries and territories for their successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with Britain and the United States near the bottom of the pile.

The Lowy Institute said its index, published yesterday, excludes China, where the first cases were identified in December 2019, due to lack of publicly available data.

Others in the top 10 are Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka - countries with fewer reported cases and deaths both in aggregate and per capita terms.

In total, 98 countries and territories were evaluated in the 36 weeks following their hundredth confirmed case of Covid-19, using data available to Jan 9 this year.

Fourteen-day rolling averages of new daily figures were calculated for confirmed cases, confirmed cases per million people, confirmed deaths, confirmed deaths per million people, confirmed cases as a proportion of tests, and tests per thousand people, the Lowy Institute said.

The report comes as world virus cases surpass 100 million, with the death toll exceeding two million.

The US, with more than 25 million confirmed cases, ranked 94th while India, with more than 11 million cases, was in 86th place. Britain, with the highest number of the deaths in Europe, stood at the 66th spot.

The index also showed that countries in the Asia-Pacific proved the most successful in containing the pandemic as Europe and the US were "quickly overwhelmed" by Covid-19.

"Levels of economic development or differences in political systems between countries had less of an impact on outcomes than often assumed or publicised," the Sydney-based Lowy Institute said.

Vietnam, which has used targeted testing and a centralised quarantine programme to successfully contain the virus, reported its first locally transmitted case of Covid-19 in 55 days yesterday.

International experts have since the start of the pandemic noted the possibility of the under-reporting of publicly available Covid-19 data, and a Financial Times article in May last year warned that the global death toll may be 60 per cent higher than official counts.

This is according to an FT analysis in March and April last year of overall fatalities during the pandemic in 14 countries where mortality statistics show 122,000 deaths in excess of normal levels across these locations, considerably higher than the 77,000 official Covid-19 deaths reported for the same places and time periods at that time.

If the same level of under-reporting observed in these countries was happening worldwide, the global Covid-19 death toll would rise by over 100,000 cases.

REUTERS

• Additional reporting by Tan Tam Mei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2021, with the headline 'NZ, Vietnam and Taiwan top Covid-19 performance index'. Subscribe