LONDON: Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been ranked first and second globally as the best places to be during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kingdom’s high inoculation rate and predictions of a strong economic recovery saw it rise 18 places to the No. 2 spot in Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking report for January.
The data and media company’s monthly overview of where the health crisis is being handled with the least social and economic disruption, noted that the most successful countries were taking long-term positions in their approach to the virus and learning to live with it.
The scores of the top-ranked nations generally reflected a “best-case scenario” of high percentages of vaccinated population, relatively controlled death levels, flight capacity returning to pre-pandemic levels, and fewer travel curbs on vaccinated people.
Both the UAE, which also came top in the November ranking, and Saudi Arabia’s ruling out of a return to full lockdown also saw them score highly. Finland came third.
The report pointed out that despite triggering the largest global infection wave of the pandemic, the mildness of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the face of high vaccination rates was keeping deaths low, meaning countries such as the UK, Thailand, and Ireland also scored highly in the ranking.
The study drew on 12 data indicators, including virus containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward restarting travel.
It highlighted how the best-performing countries were now shifting to treating COVID-19 in a similar way to influenza, with calls growing to view infection as something commonplace and manageable.
China and Hong Kong fell in the ranking, due to their “increasingly fervent” COVID-zero approaches to the virus, the report said.
In the January ranking, with many countries publishing their predictions of economic recovery for the year ahead, scores of emerging markets in southeast Asia and the Middle East tended to fare better compared with developed, Western ones.