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Comparison of Measures Against Covid-19

  • 08 May 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Oxford University has created a Stringency Index which shows how strict a country’s measures were and at what stage of the Covid-19 spread, it enforced these.

  • India enforced one of the strongest lockdowns at an early phase of case growth.

Stringency Index

  • The Government Response Stringency Index is a composite measure based on various response indicators including school and workplace closures, stay-at-home policies and travel bans, rescaled to a value from 0 to 100.
    • A higher index score indicates a higher level of stringency (100 = strictest response).
  • It is among the metrics used by the Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT).
  • The Tracker has a team of 100 Oxford community members who update a database of 17 indicators of government response.

Key Points

  • The Index has found that India has one of the strongest lockdown measures in the world, at a 100 score since 22nd March, when the nationwide lockdown was first imposed.
    • It was slightly relaxed on 20th April after the government eased norms for certain workplaces in regions outside the red zones (zones with increasing rate of active cases).
  • Other countries with a 100 score are Honduras, Argentina, Jordan, Libya, Sri Lanka, Serbia and Rwanda.
  • Death Curve and Stringency Score:
    • The Index also provides an overlay of countries’ death curve and their stringency score.
    • Eighteen countries were compared for the highest death count at the strongest measures.
      • Italy, Spain or France saw their deaths just begin to flatten as they reached their highest stringency
      • China’s death curve saw a little or no change after it put stronger measures.
      • In the UK, the US and India, the death curve has not flattened even after imposition of the strictest measures.
  • India’s Comparison:
    • India called its strict lockdown at a much earlier point on its case and death curves when compared to other countries with similar or higher case load.
      • While imposing lockdown, India had around 320 cases while others had more than 500 cases.
      • By 22nd March, India saw only 4 deaths while others saw more deaths.
    • Spain called for its strictest measures later in its case and death count than all others.
    • Sweden has had the most liberal measures in this set and Iran the second most liberal.
  • Response on WHO’s Recommendations
    • The researchers also examined if countries meet four of the six World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations for relaxing physical distancing measures. The four of them are:
      • Control transmission to a level the healthcare system can manage.
      • The healthcare system can detect and isolate all cases (not just serious ones).
      • Manage transfer to and from high-risk transmission zones.
      • Community engagement.
    • It was found that no countries meet the four measured recommendations, but 20 are close.
      • India scored 0.7 (below Australia, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea) because it scored 0 for controlling its cases.
      • The highest scorers on this index, at 0.9, were Iceland, Hong Kong, Croatia and Trinidad & Tobago.

Source: IE

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