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Why the Philippines is once again the worst place to be in COVID

·1-min read
A medical worker shows a negative COVID-19 antigen test result during an at-home COVID-19 antigen testing in Quezon City, the Philippines on Jan. 10, 2022. The Philippines reported 33,169 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a new record daily spike, pushing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 2,998,530. (Photo by Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty Images)
A medical worker shows a negative COVID-19 antigen test result during an at-home COVID-19 antigen testing in Quezon City, the Philippines on Jan. 10, 2022. (Photo: Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty Images)

By Andreo Calonzo

The Philippines fell again at the bottom of Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking of the best and worst places to be in amid the pandemic after tighter movement restrictions were reimposed to stem record infections.

After ending in December a three-month streak occupying the last spot, the Southeast Asian nation slipped three notches and ranked lowest again this month, dragged by record-high positivity rates in mid-January, when almost half of those who took Covid tests actually have the virus.

Businesses from banks to airlines were disrupted, while hospital beds filled up anew as the Philippines again topped Southeast Asia in daily cases. Mobility in malls and recreation areas plunged, tighter capacity limits were imposed on restaurants, and the unvaccinated were told to stay home.

In contrast, neighbors Malaysia and Thailand have risen from the ranking’s lowest rungs, as they didn’t have huge infections spikes and with around 70% of their respective populations fully vaccinated.

While still behind most of the region, vaccine coverage in the Philippines is improving, with half of the population already fully inoculated as shots are brought to the archipelago’s remote areas. Infections in the capital region, where most of the cases are, have also started to slow.

Economic output is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels as early as this quarter as the nation moves to a more endemic approach to the virus, the government said.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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