2019 Novel Coronavirus illustration

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Today we launch the first ever tool to track and compare policy responses of governments tackling the coronavirus outbreak around the world. 

The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker counts data from 73 countries so far, including China, South Korea, Italy, UK and USA. It will continue to be updated throughout the crisis and is freely accessible.  

This new tracker is designed to systematically record government responses worldwide and aggregate the scores into a common ‘Stringency Index’ which we hope will help researchers, policymakers and citizens understand whether increasingly strict measures affect the rate of infection, and identify what causes governments to implement stricter or less strict measures.

Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and lead for this project, said: “Our index cannot, of course, tell the full story, but we believe the data we have collected can help decision makers and public health professionals examine the robustness of government responses and provide a first step into understanding exactly what measures have been effective in certain contexts, and why.”  

The coronavirus outbreak has forced governments to put in place policies to contain the spread of the disease among their population. The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker collects publicly available information on 11 indicators of government response including school closures, public events cancellations and public information campaigns as well as fiscal and monetary measures and emergency investment in healthcare.

Government responses vary significantly from one country to another, and like any policy interventions, their effect is highly contingent on local political and social context. The COVID-19 Government Response Stringency Index, like all aggregate indices which combine different indicators into a general index, does not aim to measure the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response, but rather at offering a way for countries to compare responses and learn from one another.

The data is collected from publicly available information by a cross-disciplinary Oxford University team of academics and students – including many of our Master of Public Policy students – from every part of the world.

An official press release is available at the link on the right.