New Zealand is the best country in the world to be in during the coronavirus era, according to a Bloomberg resilience ranking.
Bloomberg's report ranks economies worth more than $200 billion on 10 key metrics, including growth in virus cases, the mortality rate, testing capabilities, vaccine supply agreements, capacity of the local healthcare system, the impact of virus-related restrictions like lockdowns on the economy, and citizens' freedom of movement.
Fifty-three countries are ranked based on where COVID-19 has been handled "most effectively with the least amount of disruption to business and society".
"New Zealand tops the ranking as of November 23 thanks to decisive, swift action," the report said.
"Early on, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Government said it would target 'elimination' of the virus, pouring resources into testing, contact tracing and a centralized quarantine strategy to snuff out local transmission.
"Having largely achieved it, New Zealanders are basically living in a world without COVID. The nation has seen just a handful of infections in the community in recent months, and live music and large-scale social events are back on."
New Zealand received a resilience ranking of 85.4, followed by Japan with 85, Taiwan with 82.9, South Korea with 82.3, and Finland with 82.
On COVID-19 status measures, New Zealand has recorded two cases per 100,000 people over the past month and a total of five deaths per one million. However, it ranks lower on its access to COVID vaccines since there are currently only supply agreements with two phase three candidates - Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE.
On quality of life measures, New Zealand ranked best for its lockdown severity, meaning social and economic activity aren't tightly restricted by government policies and guidance, and people aren't experiencing greater disruption to their lives.
But where New Zealand did score lower was on the 2020 GDP growth forecast where it sees a 6.1 percent drop.
The report said many of the countries in the top 10 pioneered and modelled the "most effective" strategies for fighting COVID-19.
"Border control has been a key element, starting with China's original cordon sanitaire around Hubei province, which largely shielded the rest of the country from infection," it said.
"The three Nordic nations in the top 10 reflect how border control has been used effectively in Europe."
Finland and Norway have blocked entry to most non-residents since mid-March, it says, even though they're part of Europe's passport-free Schengen area.
"The top-ranked European nations managed to avoid the resurgence now engulfing countries like France, the UK and Italy caused in part by summer vacation travel."
The report says the "underperformance" of democracies like the US, UK, and India contrasts with the success of authoritarian countries like China and Vietnam, which "raises questions" over whether democratic societies are prepared to tackle pandemics.
"When citizens have faith in the authorities and their guidance, lockdowns may not be needed at all, as Japan, Korea - and to an extent, Sweden - show," it said.
"New Zealand emphasized communication from the start, with a four-level alert system that gave people a clear picture of how and why the Government would act as the outbreak evolved."
The report also noted Taiwan's use of technology that shows where masks are in stock or lists locations infected people have visited.
"Much like New Zealand, life has largely reverted to normal [in Taiwan], though borders remain shut. Taiwan has so far, however, failed to ink any bilateral deals for the most progressed vaccines."