Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN)– More than a year after the spread of the “Covid-19” epidemic, ongoing health crises and closures continue to affect millions of people around the world.
However, some destinations have managed the virus better than others, with life returning to normal early and reasonably sooner.
New Zealand has been highly praised for its handling of the crisis, so you won’t be surprised when one of its cities is ranked as the world’s most liveable in 2021.
Auckland ranked first in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of the most livable cities, which includes 140 cities around the world.
After being ranked number one in 2018 and 2019, the Austrian city of Vienna withdrew from the top ten after being severely affected by the “Covid-19” epidemic, to occupy the 12th place today.
New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, ranked fourth in this year’s list, tied with the Japanese city of Tokyo. Four cities in Australia, where strict border controls have been imposed throughout the crisis, took the top ten.
Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane ranked third, sixth and tenth, respectively, while Melbourne tied with Geneva, Switzerland, in eighth place.
“It is the cities that have risen in the rankings this year that have taken drastic measures to contain the epidemic to a large extent,” Obasana Dutt of the Economic Intelligence Unit said in a statement.
She added: “New Zealand’s strict lockdown has allowed its community to reopen, as citizens, in cities such as Auckland and Wellington, have been able to enjoy a pre-pandemic lifestyle.”
Although Asia Pacific cities look superior, Canada has dropped out of the top ten altogether. Vancouver is the highest Canadian city on the list, coming in at number 16.
The index takes into account more than 30 factors covering five main categories: stability (25%), healthcare (20%), culture and environment (25%), education (10%), and infrastructure (20%).
While this year’s categories were not adjusted, many indicators, such as pressure on healthcare resources and restrictions on local sporting events, were taken into account when calculating scores for the healthcare, culture, environment and education categories.
Of course, the ranking changes greatly depending on how each city has dealt with the pandemic, how quickly vaccines can spread, as well as the level of border restrictions.
“Cities around the world are now less livable than they were before the start of the pandemic, and we’ve seen regions like Europe hit particularly hard,” Dutt adds.
In Europe, Germany experienced a significant decline in its position, in particular the city of Hamburg, which fell 34 places, reaching the 47th place in the list.
Although some social restrictions are still in place in Switzerland, the cities of Zurich and Geneva rose from 11th and 14th to seventh and eighth places.
Health care results have declined in some cities due to the epidemic, including Prague in the Czech Republic, Greek Athens, and Jakarta, Indonesia, where the number of cases was increasing when the survey was conducted.
By comparison, Spanish cities such as Barcelona and Madrid did well in the healthcare category, getting around 25 points because their health systems were under less stress compared to the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020.
Hawaii’s capital, Honolulu, also raised its health care score, an increase of 33 points, as a result of lower numbers of coronavirus cases and good vaccination rates.
While there were significant differences in the top positions, there were not many changes at the bottom of the list.
Damascus ranks last again, with the aftermath of the civil war in the country, followed by Lagos in Nigeria, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and Dhaka in Bangladesh.
These cities have performed poorly over the years due to instability caused by ongoing civil unrest, ongoing conflict, and other issues.
Despite successful vaccinations offering a glimmer of hope, the epidemic continues to spread, with India currently in the midst of a deadly outbreak.
The report says: “Conditions in the poorest cities are likely to deteriorate, especially if they fail to obtain the vaccines they need to prevent the spread of new variants of COVID-19. Thus, health care systems can come under greater stress, as happened in India.”
This means that the annual list for 2022 is likely to see more significant changes, with some cities regaining their former positions.