The Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday that the data used by Nikkei Asia for its COVID-19 Recovery Index, where the Philippines ranked last among 121 countries, was taken when COVID-19 cases were peaking in the country due to the more contagious Delta variant.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, during a Palace press briefing, said that the Tokyo-based news magazine used a 7-day period in September to analyze and compare the metrics of the countries.
Vergeire said, by that time, other countries were already months from experiencing their respective surges while the Philippines was in the middle of one.
“Ang Indonesia po nung nangyari sa kanila ‘yung pagtaas ng mga kaso, I think, that was at some time in July. Sa ibang bansa naman po nag umpisa nung Hunyo pa lang (The surge cases in Indonesia occurred, I think, at some time in July. The surge in other countries took place in June),” Vergeire said.
“Dito po sa ating bansa, September pa tayo ng umpisa talagang nag peak ang ating mga kaso at dito po ‘yung time period ng analysis po nitong dalawang survey (In our country, our peak began in September and this was the time period taken for both surveys.),” she said.
Vergeire said this led to the country’s last spot in the index.
“Dito po ‘yung panahon na mataas ‘yung kaso sa ating bansa kumpara sa ibang bansa na nakalipas na po ‘yung peak of cases nila. Kaya nandoon po talaga sa tugatod o doon sa peak ng mga kaso nung nakuha po ‘yung metric (This was the time when our cases were higher compared to other countries whose peak of cases has passed. The metric was taken during that time),” said Vergeire.
Vergeire said the government’s vaccination program was also affected by the dramatic increase in infections due to the Delta variant.
The Philippines dipped to last place in Nikkei Asia’s latest COVID-19 Recovery Index, which evaluates more than 120 countries worldwide on infection management, vaccine rollouts, and social mobility.
In a report on Wednesday, Nikkei said that as of September 30, the Philippines was at the bottom of its index — in 121st place with a score of 30.5. The country’s previous rankings were 108th in July and 106th in August.
The ranking of the Philippines includes a dismal 1 point for “tests per case”; 2 points for “confirmed cases per capita”; and 3 points for policy stringency on mobility.