New Zealand’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been the best in the world and is the country that gives business leaders the most confidence for future investment, according to a Bloomberg Media survey.

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Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand ranked strongly for political stability, the economic recovery, virus control and social resilience in Bloomberg’s market crisis management index, published on Thursday.

The index scores New Zealand at 238, above second-placed Japan at 204 and Taiwan in third on 198. Australia was sixth with 151, while the UK and US – despite their high case numbers and fatalities from Covid-19 – were ninth and 10th.

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In a boost for Jacinda Ardern’s chances of winning a second term in the election on 17 October, New Zealand scored the highest ranking in each of the categories.

Its political stability ranking was its best score and was also the most preferred holiday destination for executives once it was safe to travel.

As Auckland enjoyed its first day free of restrictions since a second wave hit, New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, said the government’s plan to go “hard and early” against the virus had been a success.

“We have one of the most open economies in the world because we set out a plan and stuck to it. We have eliminated our second wave, as others are still grappling to get this virus under control.

“Our clear plan to deal with Covid-19 is being noticed, particularly by global businesses. Our strong and steady Covid response means we’re opening up investment opportunities to support the recovery and rebuild.”

More than half of the business leaders surveyed said they were still highly concerned

The UFC hasn’t had fans at an event since March, yet president Dana White told Yahoo Sports last week that the company has a chance to make 2020 its best year ever.

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If that occurs, it would be quite the feat, and beyond anyone’s imagination when the coronavirus shut the world down in the spring.

When the UFC in May became the first major sport to resume competition, it had the audience all to itself and, judging by its television ratings and pay-per-view numbers, took advantage of the pandemic to attract new fans.

Bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes was a fan throughout the summer, watching in awe as fighters pushed the sport’s level increasingly higher.

“What you realize by what is going on here is that the sport is really and truly evolving, and the level [of competition] is getting better all the time,” Moraes told Yahoo Sports via telephone before his fight Saturday in Abu Dhabi against Cory Sandhagen. “There is a lot of new blood coming in, and they’re desperate to make their mark and you see those guys laying it all on the line. 

“And what I’ve seen is that the veterans have responded to that. They’ve worked so hard to get to where they are, and they see these news guys coming in and taking advantage of an opportunity and it pushes them. The fans obviously love it. I’m a fan, too, and I love to watch a good fight. And I will give everyone a good one [on Saturday].”

The Moraes-Sandhagen fight is about as significant as can get in the division. Newly crowned champion Petr Yan is expected to defend first against Aljamain Sterling, and while no one has called this a No.