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Policy Responses to the Coronavirus PandemicStatistics and Research

Last updated: 27th May 2020

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The latest coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) is a disease which has affected most, if not all, countries in the world.

But, the magnitude of these impacts have varied a lot between countries – some have been very successful in limiting the spread of the disease, and in preventing deaths.

There are many reasons why some countries might have been worse-hit than others. Differences in governmental policy responses may explain some of the differences.

To understand which policies might be effective in controlling the outbreak – especially as countries move towards easing restrictions – it’s essential that we have a good dataset on the timing and stringency of responses across the world.

In this article we present data and research from the Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), published and managed by researchers at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford.

The Coronavirus Government Response Tracker

The research we provide on policy responses is sourced from the Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT). This resource is published by researchers at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford: Thomas Hale, Anna Petherik, Beatriz Kira, Noam Angrist, Toby Phillips and Samuel Webster.

The tracker presents data collected from public sources by a team of over one hundred Oxford University students and staff from every part of the world.

OxCGRT collects publicly available information on 17 indicators of government responses, spanning containment and closure policies (such as such as school closures and restrictions in movement); economic policies; and health system policies (such as testing regimes). Further details on how these metrics are measured and collected is available in the project’s working paper.

The data presented here is taken directly from the OxCGRT project; Our World in Data do not track policy responses ourselves, and do not make additions to the tracker dataset.

These charts are regularly updated based on the latest version of the response tracker.

OxCGRT is an ongoing collation project of live data. If you see any inaccuracies in the underlying data, or for specific feedback on the analysis or another aspect of the project please contact OxCGRT team. See the tracker’s notes and guidance on data quality.

School and workplace closures

In this section

Schools closures

This interactive chart maps government policies on school closures.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in policies on school closures. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as ‘required closures’ if at least some sub-national regions have required closures.

Workplaces closures

This interactive chart maps government policies on workplaces closures.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in policies on workplace closures. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as ‘required closures’ if at least some sub-national regions have required closures.

Cancellation of public events and gatherings

In this section

Cancellation of public events

This interactive chart maps government policies on the cancellation of public events.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in policies on event cancellations. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as ‘required’ if at least some sub-national regions have required cancellations.

Restrictions on public gatherings

This interactive chart maps government policies on restrictions on public gatherings.

Countries are grouped into five categories:

  • No restrictions
  • Restrictions on very large gatherings (the limit is above 1000 people)
  • Restrictions on gatherings between 100 to 1000 people
  • Restrictions on gatherings between 10 to 100 people
  • Restrictions on gatherings of less than 10 people

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in restrictions. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as having these restrictions if at least some sub-national regions have implemented them.

Public information campaigns

This interactive chart maps public information campaigns on COVID-19.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in campaigns. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as having these policies if at least some sub-national regions have implemented them.

Further, the OxCGRT is missing data for many countries at level 1 “public officials urging caution about COVID-19”, and so most countries only have data for levels 0 and 2.

Stay-at-home restrictions

This interactive chart maps government policies on stay-at-home requirements or household lockdowns.

Countries are grouped into four categories:

  • No measures
  • Recommended not to leave the house
  • Required to not leave the house with exceptions for daily exercise, grocery shopping, and ‘essential’ trips
  • Required to not leave the house with minimal exceptions (e.g. allowed to leave only once every few days, or only one person can leave at a time, etc.)

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in restrictions. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as having these restrictions if at least some sub-national regions have implemented them.

Public transport

This interactive chart maps government policies on public transport closures.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in restrictions. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as having these restrictions if at least some sub-national regions have implemented them.

Restrictions on internal movement

This interactive chart maps government policies on restrictions on internal movement/travel between regions and cities.

Note that there may be sub-national or regional differences in restrictions. The policy categories shown may not apply at all sub-national levels. A country is coded as having these restrictions if at least some sub-national regions have implemented them.

International travel controls

This interactive chart maps government policies on restrictions on international travel controls.

Testing and contact tracing

In this section

Testing policy

This interactive chart maps government policies on testing for COVID-19. Note that this include PCR. testing for the virus only; it does not include non-PCR, antibody testing.

Countries are grouped into four categories:

  • No testing policy
  • Testing only for those who both (a) have symptoms AND (b) meet specific criteria (e.g. key workers, admitted to hospital, came into contact with a known case, returned from overseas)
  • Testing of anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Open public testing (e.g “drive through” testing available to asymptomatic people)

Contact tracing

This interactive chart maps government policies on contract testing for COVID-19.

Note that this does not necessarily include voluntary mobile phone apps, but is about whether the government is tracing all potentially-exposed people after a confirmed diagnosis.

Government Stringency Index

The OxCGRT project calculate a Government Stringency Index, a composite measure of nine of the response metrics.

The nine metrics used to calculate the Government Stringency Index are: school closures; workplace closures; cancellation of public events; restrictions on public gatherings; closures of public transport; stay-at-home requirements; public information campaigns; restrictions on internal movements; and international travel controls.

The index on any given day is calculated as the mean score of the nine metrics, each taking a value between 0 and 100. See the authors’ full description of how this index is calculated.

A higher score indicates a stricter government response (i.e. 100 = strictest response).

It’s important to note that this index simply records the strictness of government policies. It does not measure or imply the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response. A higher score does not necessarily mean that a country’s response is ‘better’ than others lower on the index.