People walk under Christmas illuminations at the Rennweg shopping street in Zurich, Switzerland Dec 16, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Nations including Estonia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States have been praised in a new report for their economic responses to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report Special Edition 2020: How Countries are Performing on the Road to Recovery says: “Countries with advanced digital economies and digital skills, robust social safety nets, and previous experience dealing with epidemics have better managed the impact of the pandemic on their economies and citizens.”

The report, which was released on Wednesday, does not include Global Competitiveness Index rankings this year. They were suspended because of the pandemic. But the World Economic Forum does talk in general terms about the nations it believes have best coped in economic terms with the pandemic.

“Countries with robust economic safety nets, such as Denmark, Finland, Norway, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland, were well placed to support those who could not work,” the report says. “Similarly, countries with strong financial systems, such as Finland, the US, the United Arab Emirates, and Singapore could more easily provide credit to (smaller businesses) to prevent insolvency.”

Another report singles out the Republic of Ireland as being in a particularly strong position to emerge from the pandemic in good economic shape.

The Irish state broadcaster Raidio Teilifis Eireann, or RTE, said the report from the Economic and Social Research Institute predicts the economy will end up growing by 3.4 percent this year, despite record unemployment.

The think tank’s Quarterly Economic Commentary says pharmaceutical companies and those in the IT sector have remained strong despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Earlier, official government projections had called for a decline in GDP of 2.4 percent. But the economy has expanded against expectations as consumers have resumed spending.

Petros Varthalitis, author of the report, told RTE: “The scale and the rapidity of the negative impact are much more severe during the current crisis, while the recovery seems much swifter than (previous downturns).”

The Reuters News agency, meanwhile, notes the World Bank expects Russia’s economy to start recovering in 2021, but at a pace that will be determined by the impact of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The nation’s economy has been hard hit by plummeting oil prices and reduced demand for commodities.

The World Bank said on Wednesday that Russia’s GDP will shrink by 4 percent in 2020. The profits of large and medium-sized companies fell by around 40 percent during the first nine months, compared to the same period last year.

But the bank said GDP should grow by 2.6 percent next year.

“Rebound in consumption on the back of monetary easing and improved confidence is expected to be the main growth driver in 2021 and 2022,” the World Bank said. “Consumer and business confidence are expected to improve, assuming a vaccine deemed safe and effective is rolled out.”

Russia started administering vaccinations this month.

The pan-European television News network EuroNews reports economies throughout the European Union have had mixed economic experiences during the pandemic.

As a whole, the EU experienced its worst-ever recession during the first half of the year. But, between July and September, things improved dramatically, with record growth of 12.1 percent. That recovery stalled when a second wave of lockdowns was introduced across the continent, prompting the European Commission to downgrade its economic growth forecast for the EU for 2021, from 6.1 percent to 4.2 percent.

The bloc predicts it will take two years for it to return its economy to pre-pandemic levels.