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.
16. South Korea
20. Hong Kong
24. Saudi Arabia
28. Mainland China
36. New Zealand
45. South Africa
46. Czech Republic