Ireland ranked best in the world for dealing with Covid

Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking is a monthly look at how pandemic is handled

Ireland remained the top country for a second month in a row even as cases rise. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland remained the top country for a second month in a row even as cases rise. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Ireland has been ranked as the best country in the world for the second month in a row in an index measuring where the Covid-19 pandemic is being handled most effectively and with the least social and economic upheaval.

Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking is a monthly snapshot of how the pandemic is being handled in the world’s 53 biggest economies. It uses 12 data indicators that span containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, mortality, and restarting travel.

Bloomberg said reopening is “gathering pace” across the world, with deaths set to fall to an almost one-year low in October. European nations continued to dominate the top rungs of the index, joined by the United Arab Emirates and Chile.

Ireland remained the top country for a second month in a row “even as cases rise”, Bloomberg said.

“Having fully vaccinated more than 90 per cent of adults and weakened the link between infection and deaths, the country is reopening cautiously, allowing bars and restaurants to resume normal opening hours for inoculated customers,” it continued.

“Hospitalisations are at about a quarter of what they were in a January outbreak. It also benefited from a jump in gross domestic product thanks to the success of multinationals operating there, though that may mask a lacklustre domestic economy.”

Bloomberg said the State held on to its top ranking due to “one of the world’s best vaccination rates, signs for a rapid economic rebound and the Government’s decision to loosen both domestic restrictions as well as travel quarantine rules”.

However, it also pointed out that “weekly Covid fatalities hover in the double digits”.

Booster

“Still, the country has been burnt on reopening before, easing curbs prematurely late last year which triggered a surge in cases,” it said.

“With daily cases currently at their highest level since January, Ireland’s continued success will depend on widespread vaccination severing the link between easing curbs and virus spread. The Government will widen a booster shot program to all over-60s from next month.”

Close behind Ireland were Spain and the UAE, which rounded out the top three. One of the worst hit at the start of the pandemic, Spain saw cases, positive testing rates, and fatalities fall in October after being hit by the Delta variant in the summer.

The US climbed two spots to number 26, but “may come under further pressure unless it can re-energise a plateauing vaccination drive and move beyond a relatively high death toll from Delta”. The UK, meanwhile, slid 9 places to 25th amid rising cases.

Southeast Asian countries continued to rank lowest, with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines in the bottom six for the third month running.

“While the region’s outbreak may have peaked and vaccination has progressed, especially in Malaysia, many of these export-reliant economies are still reeling from Delta’s hit,” Bloomberg said.

“That’s spurring these nations to chart clearer paths to reopening, though it’ll take time for them to catch up to Europe and the US.”

Bloomberg added that Europe’s success “will be put to the test” as vaccines face their “first real Covid winter”.

“While the region’s pioneering strategies of longer dose intervals and largely limiting quarantine-free entry to immunized people kept fatalities low even as Delta spread, places like the UK, Belgium and Ireland are already seeing a worrying uptick in cases,” it said.