Malaysia props up The Economist’s normalcy ladder that shows slow global recovery

A view of the city skyline during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur July 1,  2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A view of the city skyline during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur July 1, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Malaysia placed 50th out of 50 nations evaluated by The Economist for its global normalcy index, indicating that the country was still mired in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Topping the list was the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong, which was ahead of New Zealand and Pakistan that were second and third, respectively.

Despite Malaysia’s placing in the index, however, the results indicated that it was the only country in the region that was still far from returning to normalcy

Among Asean countries, Indonesia was ranked the highest at 40th, beating out Singapore (43rd), the Philippines (44th), and Vietnam (46th).

Even the US that has administered over 300 million Covid-19 vaccine doses was just 20th in the list.

The Economist conceded that no country tracked has come close to resuming normalcy as it pointed out that situations could change quickly and drastically

“The reading for China briefly returned to pre-pandemic levels during its celebrations for the lunar new year in February — owing in part to record-breaking box-office receipts — but the country now has a middling rank,” the London-based outlet said.

“Hong Kong and New Zealand — two places that have implemented effective measures against the coronavirus and suffered relatively few deaths — are currently at the top of our table. Malaysia, which is suffering from a deadly wave of infections caused by the more transmissible Delta variant, sits at the bottom.”

The Economist’s “normalcy index” measures behavioural changes forced by the Covid-19 pandemic and tracks countries on eight indicators across the areas of transport and travel, recreation and entertainment, and retail and employment.

It said the countries tracked were the 50 largest economies in the world that accounted for 90 per cent of global GDP and contained 76 per cent of all people.

The Economist’s index was not the only recent publication that showed Malaysia’s deteriorating Covid-19 situation.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg also released its latest Covid-19 Resilience Ranking that showed Malaysia dropping to 51st place out of 53 countries tracked.

Malaysia has spent over a month in Phase One of the National Recovery Plan in which only approved essential services may operate.

Yesterday, the federal government also announced the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) for large parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor owing to persistently high Covid-10 infections.

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