Cambodia slips but second in Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index

Cambodia slipped one rank in the latest Nikkei Global Covid-19 Recovery Index but held the second rank as the country’s economy continues to bounce back vigorously from the clutches of the pandemic.

With 78 points, the Middle East nation Bahrain now tops the index for July and Cambodia is just behind with 77.5 points. The index having 121 countries lists eastern Caribbean island Barbados at the last with just 39 points.

Cambodia was ranked first in the index last June, following a wide array of measures adopted by the country to beat Covid-19, including the massive vaccination campaigns and the early reopening of the economy.

At the last count by July end, Cambodia vaccinated 15,116,378 (at least one dose) of its estimated 16 million people since the vaccination campaign began on February 10, 2021, covering 94.48 percent of the population so far.

The Kingdom is also among the first in the region to reopen for business with its widely acclaimed ‘Live with Covid-19’ policy. The country had ended most of its Covid-19 restrictions as early as November 2021 and a majority of the businesses reopened then.

The Nikkei index assesses countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility. The higher the ranking, the closer an area is to recovery, characterized by lower infection and death rates and better inoculation coverage, as well as fewer movement restrictions.

Data sources for the index included Our World in Data, Google Covid-19 Community Mobility Reports, Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker, flight data firm Cirium and Nikkei Asia research.

Meanwhile, some of the Asian giants had massive fall this time compared to the June index with Japan plunging 60 places to 90th, as the omicron subvariant BA.5 is spreading in the country with more daily cases than anywhere else in the world.

South Korea, also reporting a jump in infections, slipped to 13th from fourth on the Nikke’s index. In the Asia-Pacific region, apart from Cambodia, Vietnam too continued to rank high at fourth. Taiwan rose 33 spots, with cases and deaths falling, and is positioned at 79th rank now.

Bahrain’s government attributed its top ranking to its successful Covid-19 mitigation efforts, including the increase in vaccination rollout and full adherence to health precautionary measures.

Globally, Japan, the United States and South Korea reported the most Covid-19 cases in the last week of July, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Japan saw 1.38 million infections, a 42 percent increase from the previous week, while South Korea reported more than 560,000, up 25 percent, for the same period.

In Japan, government experts attributed the latest wave in the infections to the highly contagious yet less deadly BA.5 subvariant. Over 63 percent of Japanese have been triple vaccinated and 30 percent of those aged 60 or above have received a fourth shot.

BA.5 is now the dominant coronavirus strain worldwide, with a prevalence rate of 69.6 percent, according to the WHO.

Meanwhile, Cambodia reported 25 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total cases to 137,081. No deaths were reported, keeping the total to 3,056 direct deaths from Covid-19 in the country. There were 54 recoveries recorded.

There are now 264 active Covid-19 cases in the Kingdom.