Nikkei's index assesses 121 countries and regions on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility. A higher ranking indicates a more advanced recovery, characterized by lower infection and death rates, better inoculation coverage and fewer restrictions on movement.

Cambodia and Vietnam had early success in managing the coronavirus one year into the pandemic, but were then hit hard by the Delta variant in the middle of 2021, when they had barely started mass inoculations. This forced the duo to impose tough measures, including lockdowns.

Nevertheless, they successfully expedited their inoculation drives -- Vietnam earned full marks, or a score of 30, for vaccinations in the latest index, while Cambodia scored 29.

Their progress has translated into brighter economic outlooks. In its latest economic forecast, the World Bank raised Vietnam's annual growth prediction to 7.2% from 5.3% ./.