SADC punches above its weight

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Harare - A recent study of 98 countries by the Lowy Institute says several SADC countries have fared well in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic – some of them even better than their developed and wealthy counterparts in the international community.

The Australian think-tank carried out a 36-week study, up to January 9, focusing on how countries with publicly available data on the virus were managing the pandemic.

Countries were sorted by regions, political systems, population size and economic development to determine if significant variations existed in how states handled the pandemic.

To gauge the relative performance of countries at different points of the pandemic, 14-day rolling averages of daily statistics were calculated for the following indicators: confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, confirmed cases per million people, confirmed recoveries per million people, confirmed cases as a proportion of tests, and tests per thousand.

A weighted average of the rankings across these indicators was calculated for individual countries in each period, and then normalised to produce a score from zero (worst performing) to 100 (best performing).

The study found that some countries managed the pandemic better than others while others, “outcompeted each other only by degrees of underperformance”.

The study also noted that “variations between individual countries were far more substantial than those between broad categories of countries”.

Countries with smaller populations managed the pandemic better than those with larger ones, researchers concluded.

Of the countries included in the study, Mozambique and Malawi led the SADC region with a score of  60,2 each, to place them 26th best in the world.

Zambia was ranked 29th with a score 59,8; while Zimbabwe and the DRC both scored 54,9 and were ranked 38th. Namibia and South Africa were ranked 57 and 82 with scores of 40,9 and 25,4 respectively.

Globally, New Zealand emerged tops with a score of 94,4 followed by Vietnam (90,8), Taiwan (86,4), Thailand (84,3) and Cyprus (83,3). Rwanda was the top ranked African country with a score of 80,8.

On the other and Brazil was the lowest country ranked with a score of 4,3; followed by Mexico (6,5), Colombia (7,7), Iran (15,9) and the United States (17,3). 

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