Data Focus

India’s stringency index jumps as most part of the country locks down

Annapurani V Chennai | Updated on May 11, 2021

India currently has the second highest number of cumulative infections in the world after the US

 

India currently has the second highest number of cumulative infections in the world after the US, with over three lakh new cases every day. While there is no national lockdown, most States have imposed partial or complete lockdowns since April in an effort to combat the pandemic.

These restrictions have impacted the Stringency Index of India, taking it to 73.61 as on April 30. With States such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala announcing lockdowns in May, the index is likely to rise further.

The Stringency Index

The Stringency Index is part of the Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) and is calculated based on nine parameters including school and workplace closures, cancellation of public events, restrictions on gathering size, closing public transport, restrictions on internal movement and international travel, stay at home requirements and public information campaigns.

A higher score (ranging between 0 and 100) indicates a higher level of strictness in the response by the country.

Jump in index value

The value of India’s Stringency Index in January-end 2020 was only 10.19. It increased to the range of 26.85-50 in the first two weeks of March when infections began to slowly spread in different pockets of the country, and it surged to 100 towards the of end-March last year, when the nation-wide lockdown was imposed. It stayed at 100 till April 19, then slipped to 96.3 and fell further to 81.94 in the first week of May. It rose again to 87.5 in the beginning of June and stayed constant till end-July. However, as the economy started opening up in August and the lockdown measures were eased, the Stringency Index also started coming down – it stood at 68.98 in the end of last year.

In 2021, the value of the Index fell to 61.57 towards the end of January and tumbled further to 57.87 in the second week of March, before the second wave of infections began to spread across the country and States started introducing curfews to curb movement of people. After that, it rose to 69.91 on April 5, and further to 73.61 on April 19.

More daily infections

Among the top countries with the highest number of cumulative Covid-19 infections, the US which saw the second wave of infections surge from end-December till mid-January had its Stringency Index value at 71.76 during the period, as per data from ‘Our World in Data’.

Similarly, Brazil’s Stringency Index value during its second wave of Covid-19 infections, which was prominent in the end-December-mid-January period, ranged from 64.35 in mid-December to 72.69 in mid-January this year.

India’s daily infections in the second wave, however, are far higher than the US’ and Brazil’s. The US, for instance, had about two lakh new infections every day during the peak period of the second wave and the number went as high as 3,00,310. Brazil, on the other hand, saw over sixty thousand infections on a daily basis during the second wave, with the number peaking at 87,843.

More stringent measures

In India, there are over three lakh infections every day – they touched a record high at 4,14,280 cases last week. As on April 30, Brazil’s Stringency Index stood at 63.43, the US’ was at 56.94, while India’s was at 73.61. Given the virulent spread of the pandemic in the country, it is only likely that more stringent measures are imposed by various States to bring down infections.

 

Published on May 11, 2021

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