Bloomberg: Chile, one of the 10 best countries to live during the pandemic

Image: The Independent
South America's "rising star" reflects a general recovery of the subcontinent, which was the hardest hit region in the world, says Bloomberg's new Covid-19 resilience ranking.

October, 2021.  The Covid-19 pandemic hit the whole world, however, some nations have managed to create a better "shield of containment" almost two years after the first cases were recorded, thanks to different plans, programs and funding.

Bloomberg's Covid Resilience ranking, which first appeared last year, has been led by European nations, however, the October edition published on Wednesday highlights the leap of Chile, which has been placed in the ranking of the 10 best countries to live during the pandemic, due to its strategies in managing the health crisis.

The ranking analyzes the world's 53 largest economies based on 12 indicators covering: containment of the virus, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and progress toward resuming travel. "It captures which economies are responding best and worst to deal with the same threat that occurs within a generation," according to Bloomberg.
Chile, with 19.1 million people, improved 23 places, from last month's listing, and has a resilience score of 71.4% with 92.4% of the population vaccinated.

Chile, with 19.1 million people, improved 23 places from last month's listing, and has a resilience score of 71.4% with 92.4% of the population vaccinated.

"Among the rising stars, Chile's stunning turnaround from the bottom half of the rankings to the top eight in one month reflects the overall recovery of South America, which was the hardest hit region in the world", Bloomberg's ranking highlights.

The government decided to give booster doses to millions of people already inoculated, has relaxed domestic restrictions and has reopened the borders to tourists from abroad with full vaccination schedules and a five-day quarantine, which will be more flexible in November.

Chile closed its borders to travelers from March to November 2020, and this year resorted again to the measure that was applied from April 5 to October 1 for vaccinated persons.

In contrast, another Latin American country, Mexico, fell eight places to 41st out of 53, due to a stagnant vaccination, which entails the risk of new waves and variants.

Image: Pixabay
 According to Covid Monitor, Mexico has 41.06% of the population fully vaccinated and 53.72% partially vaccinated.

The goal of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government was that by October, all adults would have at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Another Latin American country that appears in the report is Colombia, which is in 27th position, dropping five places, followed by Brazil (the second country with the highest number of deaths worldwide), which climbed one place to 31st.

The Brazilian Senate finally approved its recommendation that President Jair Bolsonaro faces a trial on a series of criminal charges, including crimes against humanity, regarding his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The President's strategy to face the pandemic resulted in more than 600,000 deaths due to Covid-19 in Brazil, therefore he is held responsible for these deaths, according to the final report of the Parliamentary Investigation Commission which analyzed several actions over a period of six months.

Argentina is in the 40th place. The Ministry of Health informed on Tuesday that it would start the third dose and a vaccine tourism program.

In contrast, Ireland ranks number one with a resilience score of 75.1%, even though it had an increase in positive cases, notes Bloomberg. The country has opted for a cautious reopening, allowing, for example, bars and restaurants to resume normal opening hours only for vaccinated customers.

Hospitalizations are about a quarter of what they were during the January outbreak.

Ireland continues to be number one thanks to one of the best vaccination rates in the world (73.8%), with a weakening infection-to-death ratio, signs of a rapid economic upturn and the government's decision to relax both domestic restrictions and travel quarantine rules.

Below are Spain and the United Arab Emirates, in second and third place, respectively.

Spain, which was one of the hardest hit at the start of the pandemic, managed to reduce cases, positive test rates and deaths after being hit by the delta variant in the summer. The country has eased restrictions on meetings and lifted the curfews, while flight capacity, a key measure for reopening, recovered to more than 70% of pre-Covid-19 levels.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates moved up three places after new infections in October fell to the lowest level in more than a year. However, Bloomberg highlights, the country may face new risks as it hosts its month-long Expo in Dubai.

On the other hand, Southeast Asian countries remain at the bottom of the ranking: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are in the bottom six for the third consecutive month.

"Many of these export-dependent economies are still recovering from the Delta variant surge," according to the ranking. "That is prompting these nations to chart clearer ways toward reopening, although it will take time for them to match Europe".

Despite having fully inoculated more than 1 billion people, China's international borders stay closed. Small flare-ups have caused localized travel restrictions, but the country still scores well on flight capacity due to its large, significant domestic travel market.

One aspect about pandemic management that has become key in the analysis is the progress in vaccination, the severity of closures and restrictions in force, and travel tracking, which together form an indicator that assesses how far each location is from pre-Covid-19 levels of normalcy.

Another acid test is on the way

"Those who have embraced travel, opened open borders and encouraged a sense of normalcy to become the best places to be during the pandemic are about to face their greatest test," the Ranking notes, referring to the fact that vaccines will test their efficacy for the first time in the approaching northern winter. 

The core ideas in the next listing are:
- Can the booster campaigns of wealthier nations fend off another wave as winter and the holiday season approach? And at what cost?
- Will cold weather favor regions like the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia, helping them gain ground?

Morals and lessons based on the performance of several top-ranked nations
A constant in high-ranking economies has been a generalized degree of government trust and social compliance.

Investment in public health infrastructure is also important. 

Underestimated in many places before 2020, contact tracing systems, effective testing and health education bolstered the countries that have performed consistently well in the Ranking.

The advent of vaccines has been a ray of light and highlighted the importance of funding health care research and development.

Social cohesion for people to comply with distancing measures.

Strict border restrictions.

Bloomberg published the first ranking in November 2020, almost a year after the first outbreaks of the new coronavirus in the world, to review how different the levels of quality of life and control of the spread of the pathogen turned out to be in each country.