Thai citizens ranked the country last in Southeast Asia in terms of Covid-19 response, a new study shows

Thailand is ranked as the worst-performing Southeast Asian country in terms of its coronavirus response according to a survey conducted across the region and released this week.

According to its own citizens, Thailand scored lower on public perception of its response than countries like Malaysia and Singapore despite having lower infection numbers.

The study, carried out by Singapore’s Blackbox Research, measured public sentiment across four categories: national political leadership, corporate leadership, community, and media.

Thailand scored 36 on the index, behind ASEAN neighbours Malaysia (58), Philippines (49), Singapore (48), and Vietnam (77). This places Thailand in the lowest 5 countries in the world in terms of overall index score.

David Black, CEO of Blackbox, said that some of the low rankings could be attributed to a “contentious” political climate. Thailand has transitioned back to a semi-democracy after five years of military rule.

“However, the country’s strong investment in its public health system is paying off: Thailand has case fatality rates well under two per cent, and is currently easing its lockdown restrictions. Today, the country appears to be on the path to recovery,” Black said.

Other results from the study show that while Thais was the most anxious country out the 23 countries surveyed in regards to the pandemic, Thais also felt the most optimistic of a full economic recovery.

Western surprise

The study also interviewed citizens in more developed countries and found that nearly half of the respondees mentioned their surprise at how off guard, their nations had been caught by the pandemic.

Japan, France, and the United States’ results indicate that the majority of citizens of the respective countries(70 per cent and up) felt astounded at how unprepared their governments were.

Only New Zealand passed the Covid-19 test in the eyes of their citizens, scoring well in all categories.

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