Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, has clarified that the organisation had not ranked countries on the basis of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mulombo made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the commencement of the Nigeria’s second phase of the COVID-19 vaccines programme, held at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jabi Abuja, on Monday.
He, however, noted that Nigeria had mounted one of the most effective responses to COVID-19 , putting in place courageous measures and helping to avert the spread that was predicted.
According to him, “Some independent media analysis had previously presented a ranking for top 10 countries, with Nigeria appearing on 4th position. It should be noted, however, that this is not a WHO ranking.
“The Global Normalcy Index ranked Nigeria 4th position in the Economist’s Global Normalcy Index, out of 50 countries, which is commendable,” he explained.
He added that while the government deserved commendation, Nigerians too deserved praise for cooperating with the Federal Government throughout the difficult times.
“As I always mentioned at different fora, vaccines are a critical tool in the battle against COVID-19.
“These vaccines are safe and effective and will be the game- changer: but for the foreseeable future, we must continue wearing masks, physical distance and avoid crowds.
“I will like to remind everyone, that most countries, including Nigeria, are currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 outbreaks,” he said.
NAN recalls that the Economist’s Normalcy Index sought to establish which nations were returning to their pre-pandemic ranges by classifying nation on eight metrics: time away from residence, retail, workplace use, public transportation, site visitors, air journeys, cinema visits and sporting occasions.
The pre-pandemic level of activity was set at a score of 100 and the assessment covered 50 countries representing about 75 per cent of global population and 90 per cent of global GDP.
“But Nigeria’s 84 per cent turned out to be the highest in Africa with Egypt ranked 2nd in Africa and 8th in the world with 81.1 per cent.”
”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 tables.” the report showed, as it placed Pakistan in third place.
The worldwide normalcy index plummeted in March 2020, the report stated, as many nations imposed restrictions on the motion of their residents. (NAN)