Data Focus

Covid-19: Stringency index shows India unlocked more than other countries

| | Updated on: Nov 30, 2021
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Due to the falling case load, India has a low stringency index of 45.83.

 

As newer covid variants and mutations surface, the world is moving towards tighter measures to prevent the further spread of the virus. But India has been more enthusiastic about unlocking covid-related restrictions when compared with other countries. This is captured by the comparatively lower stringency index in India.

OxCGRT methodology

The Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) project calculates a stringency index for countries. This index is a composite measure based on nine response indicators such as travel ban, school and 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, which is rescaled to a value from 0 to 100 (100= Strictest).

 

 

India has a relatively low stringency index of 45.83, where the lower score reflects lesser restrictions and curfews. This complacency could be due to the falling case-load in India.

On October 1, 2021, the average daily covid cases were around 23,806, but this has declined 62 per cent since then, standing at 8,847 in the last week of November 2021. Due to this, the central and state governments have been steadily relaxing restrictive measures. Many companies have recalled their employees back to office, and schools and colleges have also begun offline classes.

On the other hand, other countries appear more circumspect. China has one of the highest stringency index with a 76.39 score. Germany, too, seems more careful with a score of 72.55. Countries like the US, Brazil, Japan, and the UK are relatively open with stringency index in the 40s range. Russia and Pakistan, however, appear more blasé with scores below India, at 38.43 and 31.94 respectively.

Vaccination progress

The progress of vaccination could also be making the government complacent. India has the highest daily vaccination doses administered, with an average of 79 lakh doses per day which is 4.3 times higher than the US’ daily vaccination rate of around 18 lakh doses. This vaccination rate could be another factor leading to lower stringency in India. The daily vaccination rate in India has been picking up pace since July and has hit an all-time high in November. India has administered more than 1.2 billion doses and completely vaccinated 32.1% of its population.

Epicentre shifts to Europe

The covid epicentre has now shifted to Europe, where most countries are showing a massive surge in daily cases. Germany’s daily cases have increased more than seven-fold since October to an average of 58,044 daily cases. The UK has been seeing a rise in cases since the first week of November to around 44,000 cases per day. The daily cases in the US were back to their October highs of 1 lakh cases, but there has been a drop in cases in the last week of November.

With the new variant Omicron, the Indian government tightens rules for flyers from abroad to prevent transmission. The stringency index for India can move higher if the government perceives higher risk from the new variant and begins tightening again.

Published on November 30, 2021

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