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    Winter and Omicron — best and worst places to be in amid variant scare

    Medics wearing PPE transfer patients infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) into the Airbus A310-900 MRTT MedEvac Hermann Koehl of the German armed forces Bundeswehr before they are airlifted and transported to other intensive care units (ICU) in the country, at Dresden International Airport, Saxony, eastern Germany on December 1, 2021۔ — AFP

    The new coronavirus variant Omicron has sparked worries around the world that it could likely resist vaccinations and prolong the nearly two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic.

    The variant was first reported to the World Health Organisation in South Africa a week ago and has spread rapidly across the globe, with borders shutting and dozens of countries rolling out travel restrictions.

    The variant emerged as much of the northern hemisphere was already bracing for a new winter wave of the pandemic — leaving even nations with high vaccination rates struggling to contain rising infection numbers and prevent health services from being overwhelmed.

    Governments, particularly in Western Europe, have already reintroduced mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing measures, curfews, or lockdowns — leaving businesses fearing another grim Christmas.

    Britain has set a target of delivering third jabs to all adults within two months.

    The WHO has warned blanket travel bans will not prevent the spread of Omicron and warned that “blanket” travel bans risked doing more harm than good, just as Canada expanded its restrictions.

    In a travel advisory, the WHO warned the bans could ultimately dissuade countries from sharing data about the evolving virus.

    While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant — it could take weeks to determine whether and to what extent it is vaccine-resistant — it has highlighted that the global fight against COVID-19 is far from over.

    In the light of the new variant’s emergence, Bloomberg has put together a list of countries for people that can be considered the worst and the best to be in during winters.

    The publication used a “Covid Resilience Ranking” which analyses monthly data from the world’s 53 leading economies. It tracks “where the virus is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic upheaval”.

    The list has been compiled using 12 data indicators, including virus containment, healthcare quality, vaccination coverage, overall mortality, and progress toward restarting travel.


    1. UAE

    2. Chile

    3. Finland

    4. Ireland

    5. Spain

    6. Turkey

    7. Canada

    8. Sweden

    9. France

    10. Denmark

    11. Norway

    12. UK

    13. US

    14. Colombia

    15. Japan

    16. South Korea

    17. Bangladesh

    18. Portugal

    19. Israel

    20. Hong Kong

    21. Iraq

    22. Iran

    23. Argentina

    24. Saudi Arabia

    25. Switzerland

    26. India

    27. Italy

    28. Mainland China

    29. Brazil

    30. Netherlands

    31. Belgium

    32. Germany

    33. Australia

    34. Greece

    35. Taiwan

    36. New Zealand

    37. Singapore

    38. Peru

    39. Pakistan

    40. Nigeria

    41. Romania

    42. Egypt

    43. Mexico

    44. Russia

    45. South Africa

    46. Czech Republic

    47. Thailand

    48. Austria

    49. Poland

    50. Malaysia

    51. Vietnam

    52. Indonesia

    53. Philippines

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