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New Zealand has been ranked the best performer in managing Covid-19 while Australia is ranked eighth, according to an index published by the Lowy Institute today.

The Lowy Institute’s new interactive feature – the Covid Performance Index – looks at how countries and territories have performed in responding to the pandemic.

It’s based on crunching data for the 36 weeks that followed every country’s hundredth confirmed case of Covid-19, based on indicators such as confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, confirmed cases per million people, confirmed deaths per million people, confirmed cases as a proportion of tests, and tests per thousand people.

Of the nearly 100 jurisdictions with publicly available and comparable data in these categories, New Zealand comes out in top place. It’s followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland and Australia.






New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s Covid response has been rated the best in the world. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

The researchers say China was not included in the rankings due to a lack of publicly available data on testing, but South Korea is ranked 20th, Japan 45th, the United Kingdom 66th, Indonesia 85th and the United States 94th, with Brazil in last place at 98th.

“Although the coronavirus outbreak started in China, countries in the Asia Pacific, on average, proved the most successful at containing the pandemic,” the interactive says. “By contrast, the rapid spread of Covid-19 along the main arteries of globalisation quickly overwhelmed first Europe and then the United States.”

Researchers Alyssa Leng and Hervé Lemahieu say smaller countries with populations of fewer than 10 million people “proved more agile than the majority of their larger counterparts in handling the health emergency for most of 2020” – but development levels or differences in political systems “had less of an impact on outcomes than often assumed or publicised”.

You can explore the interactive, and find out more about how they crunched the data, here.

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