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Strict or Lenient? COVID-19 Lockdowns Compared



This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


A tracker by the University of Oxford shows how strict or lenient governments have been in their containment response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project's containment and health index shows shows that positive pandemic outcomes cannot in all cases be traced back to the type of response a certain government has put on.


According to the index, the strictest lockdowns and containment strategies have taken place in China, Italy and India, which corresponds with some of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. Yet, strategies in the U.S., Brazil, the UK and Germany look similar – but led to widely different results. Of course, other factors like demographics, the timing of the response and how well residents are complying (or are able to comply) with restrictions also had an influence on outcomes.


The index also shows that China has been tightening restrictions again, but that it actually never fully let its guard down after the outbreak in Wuhan was contained in early March. South Korea, a country lauded for its response, has also stayed alert even though case numbers stabilized in April. Also visible on the index is a loosening of restrictions in India and Russia despite growing case numbers in both countries. Yet, those temporary restrictions seem to have slowed the growth of infection numbers down somewhat in those places, while the outbreak in Brazil, where no temporary crackdown happened, has been growing largely uninhibited.


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