Coronavirus – Health and Governance Issues

What is Stringency Index?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Stringency Index

Mains level: Effectiveness of the nationwide lockdown and its shortcomings

India enforced one of the strongest lockdowns at an early phase of case growth. Now, an index created by the University of Oxford quantifies that.

The Stringency Index provides a computable parameter to evaluate the effectiveness of the nationwide lockdown in India.

What is Stringency Index?

  • It is among the metrics being used by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.
  • The Tracker involves a team of 100 Oxford community members who have continuously updated a database of 17 indicators of government response.
  • These indicators examine containment policies such as school and workplace closings, public events, public transport, stay-at-home policies.
  • The Stringency Index is a number from 0 to 100 that reflects these indicators. A higher index score indicates a higher level of stringency.

What does the Stringency Index tell us?

  • It provides a picture of the stage at which any country enforced its strongest measures.
  • Oxford provides an overlay of countries’ death curve and their stringency score.
  • Some countries saw their deaths just begin to flatten as they reached their highest stringency, such as Italy, Spain, or France.
  • As China pulled stronger measures, its death curve plateaued.
  • In countries such as the UK, the US, and India, the Oxford graphs find that the death curve has not flattened after strictest measures were enforced.

How does India compare with others?

  • The Index has found that India indeed had one of the strongest lockdown measures in the world — at a 100 score since March 22.
  • When compared to other countries with the similar or higher caseload, India called its strict lockdown at a much earlier point on its case and death curves.
  • These 18 other countries had more than 500 cases when they called their strictest lockdown, while India had 320.
  • Again, India had only four deaths on March 22, when its score reached 100, while most countries had more deaths at that point (except Switzerland; no 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.

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