The Covid-19 pandemic hit different regions in different ways and at varying pace. While life in some nations is coming back to normal, others are still under varying degrees of restrictions. While some countries imposed the harshest lock-downs ever witnessed, others didn't use the same strategy even in their worst affected regions.
A survey conducted by Singapore-based independent pollster Blackbox Research and consumer intelligence platform Toluna scored 23 countries based on their Covid-19 response. For this purpose 12,592 respondents, aged between 18 and 80, were interviewed via an online panel between April 3 and 19. It involved four categories: national political leadership, corporate leadership, community and media.
Where do the countries stand based on their Covid-19 response?
With a score of 85 China topped the survey, followed by Vietnam . Tied with a score of 59, India and the United Arab Emirates [UAE] came third. Western nations have fared poorly as compared to their eastern counterparts, with New Zealand  being the only western nation with a score greater than the global average of 45.
Among western countries, France, with a score of 26, fared the worst. Surprisingly, South Korea  that has been lauded internationally for its pandemic response scored less than the global average. Japan with a score of 16 performed the worst, chiefly due to its perceived poor political performance and business leadership, as well as lacklustre community performance, according to the survey.
Political leaders from 7 out of 23 countries were rated highly for their crisis response by at least 50 percent of its citizens. This was again topped by China, with 86 percent respondents in favor of its leadership. Also, respondents from Vietnam [82 percent], New Zealand [67 percent], UAE [61 percent], Malaysia [59 percent], India [52 percent] and Taiwan [52 percent], felt favorably for their political leadership.
Japan fared the worst with just 5 percent respondents in favor of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's leadership. David Black, founder and chief executive of Blackbox Research, said: "Japan's low ratings is in line with ongoing criticism towards the Abe government's handling of the pandemic, such as the perceived delay in declaring a state of emergency".
Among western nations, apart from New Zealand [67 percent], all including the US, Australia, Italy, Germany, UK and France had less than 50 percent of its citizens report favourable ratings, with France faring lowest in the region and third-lowest globally at 14 percent. In this, eastern nations performed better than their western counterparts. "A significant part of Asia has had their leadership shaped by past epidemics, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), which means citizens believe their governments will have in place the necessary measures when it comes to responding to similarly serious respiratory pathogens", said Black.
With majority of economic activities halted as a result of lock-downs, corporate leaders have also been put to the test in terms of how they respond to the crisis. As many as 80 percent of Chinese respondents felt their business leadership did well. Other than China, Vietnam [64 percent] is the only country where over 50 percent of respondents felt favorably for their corporate leadership. France [10 percent], Hong Kong [7 percent] and Japan [6 percent] performed the worst.
As many as 79 percent of all respondents felt that major businesses could've done more, 82 percent said that listed companies should be compelled to make a minimum contribution in a time of crisis and 85 percent said that they will remember and support the companies and brands that helped during the crisis.
China vs USA
One thing is quite evident from the survey: how China perceives itself is in stark contrast to how the world perceives it. While 85 percent of respondents from China believed that their country will emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger that the US, only 11 percent Americans, 15 percent from the European Union [EU] and 10 percent felt the same.
On the other hand, while 41 percent of Americans believed that their country will emerge stronger than China, 33 percent Chinese, 28 percent from the EU and 20 percent Indians had the same opinion.
Commenting on the survey, Black said that "the pandemic has dramatically shifted our worldview, and this will unequivocally change the way we approach governance, business, and healthcare moving forward".
"Covid-19 is not the first and will not be the last global pandemic. In order to rebuild public trust and confidence, leaders need to consider the lasting implications and impacts of the crisis in order to emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient", he added.