Current Affairs

Researchers at Oxford launch new tool tracking government measures against COVID-19

Academics at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government have unveiled a tool which tracks the strength of restrictions which governments around the world have implemented in response to the coronavirus.

This tool is the first to systematically track worldwide government responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It is designed to help governments and the public understand and compare the effectiveness of measures in curbing infection rates of COVID-19.

At the moment, the tool includes data from 73 different countries, including China, South Korea, France, US, UK, and Italy. It generates a ‘Stringency Index’ for each country, which is measured on a scale from 0-100 and based on 11 factors, including school closures, international travel restrictions, and investments in healthcare systems.

The range of government interventions being tracked for the index are:

  1. School closures
  2. Workplace closures
  3. Public event cancellation
  4. Public transport closure
  5. Public information campaigns
  6. Restriction on internal movement
  7. International travel controls
  8. Fiscal measures
  9. Monetary measures
  10. . Emergency investment in healthcare
  11.  Investment in vaccines.

The project is led by Thomas Hale, the Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government. A team of more than 40 Oxford researchers and students gathered data from publicly available outlets, including news websites and government briefings. The tracker is available free online here, and will be updated as the situation progresses.

Hale commented, “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.”