Stringency Index: How does each country’s Covid response compare?

University of Oxford researchers measure strictness of global lockdown policies

epaselect epa09287769 Sri Lankan fire brigade personnel spray disinfectant at a municipal workshop, as a preventative measure against COVID-19, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 20 June 2021. The Sri Lankan government announced earlier in this week that the island-wide travel restriction is expected to be relaxed on 21 June 2021 for two days, after nearly one month of island-wide travel restrictions as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19. Sri Lanka is currently in the midst of the third wave of the COVID-19 virus pandemic with a daily increase in the number of cases.  EPA/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE
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University of Oxford researchers have measured the rigidity of government policies to contain the pandemic.

Known as the Stringency Index, the Our World In Data project compares responses from health authorities across the world.

What is the Stringency Index?

The Stringency Index is a tracker measuring the restrictions in place in every country to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

It measures the response across nine categories: school closures, workplace closures, cancellation of public events, public gathering restrictions, public transport closures, stay-at-home orders, public information campaigns, internal movement restrictions and international travel controls.

The average of the nine metrics, each taking a value between 0 and 100, gives the final score.

A higher score indicates a stricter response, with 100 being the toughest.

Which countries have the strongest measures?

Sri Lanka currently has the toughest Covid-19 restrictions in the world, with a score of 85.19 on the index.

South American nations rated highly, with Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Suriname scoring above 70.

China – scene of the coronavirus outbreak in December 2019 – scored highly in Asia with a rating of 78.24.

Germany has the highest score in Europe at 75, followed by Ireland on 74.07 and Portugal on 70.37.

Which countries have the loosest restrictions?

New Zealand, which experienced near-normality for much of the pandemic having successfully suppressed the disease, scored 22.22 whereas it previously had among the world’s toughest measures, recording 96.30 in April 2020.

Several African nations also scored low, with the Central African Republic ranked at 11.11, Burundi on 15.74, Chad on 16.67 and Ivory Coast 17.59.

How did the UK fare?

The UK’s score is 51.39, which is on par with most other major European countries, with the exception of Germany, an outlier on 75.

Britain’s score has remained steady since mid-May, when restrictions were eased to allow for indoor mixing.

Its highest score was recorded between January and March this year, a period covered by England’s third national lockdown.

That shutdown was calculated as tougher than the first in March 2020 and the second in November.