Bangladesh has slipped two rungs to rank 48th among 53 countries in the Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking for July, released on Wednesday, which indicates that the country's resilience to the deadly virus has weakened.
India – where Covid-19 was the deadliest in South Asia – rose six places to secure the 44th position in the ranking as infection and death counts have been going down from its peaks there.
Besides, Pakistan also managed to move two places up to secure the 45th place in the ranking.
As a result of resurgence in Covid-19 infections, Bangladesh's Resilience Ranking has been dropping from 28th position in March to 41st in April, 40th in May and 46th in June 2021.
Bloomberg scores the largest 53 economies based on 12 data indicators that span Covid-19 containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and – as of last month – progress toward restarting travel and easing border curbs.
Bangladesh achieved an overall score of 47.2 out of 100, while India scored 51 and Pakistan 49.4.
Scoring 100 indicates the best performance and 0 indicates the worst.
The ranking's top performers are increasingly those economies where vaccination is driving containment and underpinning reopening, said Bloomberg.
When it comes to vaccination, Bangladesh shielded only 3.4% of its population while India made it more than four times than the country by vaccinating 16.1% and Pakistan made it nearly double by covering 6.2%, according to Bloomberg.
The ranking revealed that the Covid-19 death rate in Bangladesh was 1.9% over the past three months, while in India it was 1.6% and in Pakistan 2.8%.
Bangladesh registered 177 confirmed cases per 1 lakh people over the past month as India registered 85 cases and Pakistan only 24 cases.
Meanwhile, the virus killed 119 persons per 10 lakh people in Bangladesh, 305 persons in India and 104 in Pakistan since the pandemic began.
In the lockdown severity indicator, Bangladesh scored 86, India 82 and Pakistan 64. A high score in lockdown severity indicates that the social and economic activities are tightly restricted by government policy and guidance, meaning people are experiencing a greater disruption to their lives.
Bloomberg said, "It's a quandary faced by other low-ranked places like Malaysia, the Philippines and Bangladesh, reinforcing a rich-poor divide in the Ranking that parallels what World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called a 'catastrophic moral failure' in vaccine access."
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 told The Business Standard, "Infections and deaths are on the rise because actions are not being taken scientifically to tackle the infection. Covid-19 positive patients are not being isolated. Patients with mild symptoms are wandering around and spreading the infection.
"Even if the lockdown is imposed, it cannot be implemented properly, so there are no benefits of it. Wearing masks could not be made compulsory in 100% cases. The virus is spreading more because people are not wearing masks. And deaths are on the rise due to mismanagement of the hospitals. Now the number of tests is less than the number of infections. Bangladesh might have fallen behind in Bloomberg's ranking due to these reasons."
Professor Nazrul said the health system is mainly Dhaka-centric. "All the good hospitals, all the facilities including ICU are in Dhaka. The death count is higher outside Dhaka because of this. Besides, the patients of the village go to the hospital at the very last stage without doing any test, so they cannot be saved."
He emphasised on preventing infections locally, otherwise "infections will continue to increase". Tests have to be arranged at the upazila level and samples have to be collected from houses. Currently, more than 16,000 people are testing Covid-19 positive every day. If they are not isolated, the number of deaths will increase in the future, he said.
Norway now the best place to be in the pandemic
Norway topped the Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking with a score of 77.2 in July climbing ten places up from June.
Norway has administered enough shots to cover almost half its population, witnessed few new fatalities and its borders unsealed.
Switzerland, New Zealand, France and the United Statesare the other countries among the top five list.
Indonesia is now the worst place to be in this pandemic where more than 1,300 people are now dying every day followed by Malaysia, South Africa.