PH among most vulnerable countries to COVID-19 impact

While the Philippines has been doing quite well in dealing with the pandemic, UK-based Oxford Economics said the country’s exposure to the global economy and shortcomings in health response made it among the five countries deemed most vulnerable to COVID-19 impact.

The four others are Spain, Mexico, the United States and Brazil, according to the latest overall COVID-19 vulnerability scores released by Oxford Economics last week. The least vulnerable are Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Mongolia.

Oxford Economics’ scorecard covered economic structure, health-related COVID-19 vulnerability, pandemic prevalence as well as pandemic response.

Sought to comment on the Philippines’ vulnerability to COVID-19, Oxford Economics senior emerging market economist Evghenia Sleptsova said in an e-mail that “the prevalence of the pandemic itself is relatively low in the Philippines at the moment and most of the vulnerabilities are structural—either economic or health-related.”

For one, Sleptsova pointed to “high reliance on travel and tourism, remittances and an economic structure that is not very conducive to working from home.”

She added that the Philippines had a “relatively weak provision of the healthcare system” while also suffering from high inequality.

“In terms of pandemic response, the timeliness of lockdown and relatively low testing are negatively affecting the score. Although arguably, the timeliness of lockdown may be less relevant by now and testing may be a function of a low number of cases,” Sleptsova said.

The Philippines, she said, was managing the pandemic well thus far, but structurally the economy was vulnerable, highlighting the need for vigilance against the further spread of the pandemic. INQ

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