Turkey is ranked 74th among 98 countries in a COVID Performance Index, published on Thursday by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, which assessed the impact of geography, political systems and economic development on outcomes.
In total, 98 countries were evaluated in the 36 weeks that followed their hundredth confirmed case of COVID-19, using data available to Jan. 9, 2021.
The best performing countries in the index are New Zealand, Vietnam and Thailand, while the worst-performing are Brazil, Mexico and Columbia. The index did not include China, where the coronavirus originated, in the list due to the lack of publicly available data on testing.
“Some countries have managed the pandemic better than others – but most countries outcompeted each other only by degrees of underperformance. The severity of the pandemic in many countries has also changed significantly over time, with infections surging again in many places that had apparent success in suppressing initial outbreaks,” the think tank said.
Turkey’s poor ranking on the index contradicts the claim of Turkey’s Justice Development Party (AKP) government that Turkey is among the best performing countries in the world in terms of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey reported its first coronavirus case on March 11. As of Jan. 27, the country’s total number of coronavirus cases stood at 2,449,839, while the death toll was 258,476.
The AKP government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been marred by transparency debates as the government failed to report the cases accurately. From July to the end of November, the Turkish government made public only the comparatively small number of COVID-19 “patients” with symptoms, excluding people with no symptoms and who didn’t require hospitalization. In the wake of growing criticism, the Health Ministry in late November began to report the number of all individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The reporting of all coronavirus cases in Turkey, which numbered some 30,000 a day at the time, caused the country to become one of the hardest-hit countries in the world back in December.