- Özgür Töre
Thailand has been ranked fourth out of 98 countries worldwide for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a poll conducted by a prominent Australian-based academic think tank.
The Lowy Institute gave New Zealand top marks in the poll with Vietnam ranking second followed by Taiwan, Thailand and Cyprus rounding out the top five countries.
It used a unique set of research criteria to reach that assessment. To gauge the relative performance of countries at different points in the pandemic, the Lowy Institute tracked six measures of COVID-19 in 98 countries where a complete data set was available.
It looked at the individual response in the 36-week span that followed every country's 100th confirmed case of the virus, using data up until 9 January, 2021. From that, it created 14-day rolling averages that were calculated using the following indicators:
- Confirmed cases
- Confirmed deaths
- Confirmed cases per million people
- Confirmed deaths per million people
- Confirmed cases as a proportion of test
- Tester per one thousand people
It judged countries that had fewer reported cases and deaths (on both an aggregate and per capita basis), in addition to nations where testing rates were high, countries that proved more successful in containing the virus were largely in the Asia-Pacific region.
Of these countries, the Institute gave Thailand a 84.2 ranking, compared to 83.3 for Cyprus. By comparison, the top three scores were 94.4 (New Zealand), 90.8 (Vietnam), and 86.4 (Taiwan), respectively.
This latest recognition of the Thai government's prevention and control of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic comes as Thailand continues to work to control a stage two outbreak that began on 19 December, 2020.
In August last year, Thailand also topped the list of the world's safest destinations to visit during the COVID-19 pandemic according to a study at the time by Germany-based travel company Tourane.
Thailand was considered the world's safest travel destination during the COVID-19 pandemic based on various criteria including the 14-day notification rate of new COVID-19 cases and deaths per the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). At that time, Thailand had recorded a low number of COVID-19 cases and was scored 85 for the International Health Regulations. These coupled with moderate population density, at 135, and the hours of sunshine per day for outdoor activities, 6.6 hours, plus having the greatest number of direct flights with Germany placed Thailand firmly in the top spot.