97.2 Overall Score (up 22.7 since Aug 1st.)


  • 100 Public Health
  • 67.8 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 100 Public Health
  • 67.8 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been very strong across the board, buoyed by strong public health directives and a reliance on science and facts.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Senegal is among the most poorly performing countries on infant mortality, hospital beds, wealth, and healthcare.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 61.6%
  • GDP/capita $4,079
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.3
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 32
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 44.4
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 1.5

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)

Public Health Directives

Senegal has had a very strong public health policy, implementing an early and strict stay-at-home order and strongly restricting public gatherings; limited testing and minimal emergency healthcare spending bring its score down slightly.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 0
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $6.34
  • Travel restrictions 1
  • Tests/1,000 people 25.3
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Senegal had a relatively strong financial response to the pandemic, particularly its very generous debt-forbearance policy and strong income support.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 8.2%
  • Income support 0
  • Debt forebearance 0

Fact-Based Communication

Senegal’s government is very strong in this category, as it has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 0
  • Press freedom 0

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

Senegal is relatively strong in this category, with low numbers of cases and deaths, likely heavily aided by its very high public health policy score.

  • Total deaths 148
  • Death rate per 100K 8.8
  • Total cases 36,996
  • Cases per 100K 8
  • Percent of positive tests 9.3
  • Change in positivity rates -1.3
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 11 Mosques, churches, and businesses are allowed to reopen 10.57
2 Jun 30 Curfew ends 5.67
3 Jan 07 Implemented restrictions in Dakar and Thies regions, including banning public meetings, private gatherings (including weddings and large religious gatherings), and gatherings at hotels, concert halls, bars, cafes, beaches, markets, sports fields, dance clubs, and weekly markets 13.14

Differentiating Factors

  • Protests erupt in Senegal: Frustration over corruption, crackdown on political opponents, and economic disruptions from COVID-19 have led to increased protests in Senegal. Analysts believe that disgruntlement over a worsening economy hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing restrictions, are the reasons anger has been so sustained. Read More
  • Senegal launches vaccination campaign with China's vaccine: In February 2021, Senegal launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign using China's Sinopharm vaccine. In March 2021, Senegal will receive its first batch of COVAX vaccines to bolster its efforts in order to reach its goals of vaccinating 90 percent of its population. Read More
  • Senegal’s COVID-19 cases surge: The country's total confirmed cases surpassed 30,000 in February 2021. Senegal's President ordered the government to accelerate the mobilization of human and financial resources to identify priority recipients in the country's COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Read More
  • Education through television: Senegal continues to take a creative approach to COVID-19, releasing plans for remote learning by broadcasting lessons and lectures on TV while its schools remain closed. Read More
  • Guaranteed beds for COVID-19 patients: Senegal's strategy has centered around an early pledge made by the government that every diagnosed coronavirus patient would receive a hospital bed. Read More
  • Ebola experience key to COVID-19 success: Preparation has been key to Senegal's early success in keeping cases low. Since the Ebola outbreak five years ago, the government has run several simulations providing training to respond to virus outbreaks, and health officials created a COVID-19 response plan in early January, over a month before the country's first case was reported. Read More
  • Food and electricity relief for 1 million: The government announced a generous Economic and Social Resilience Program that will provide food and pay electricity bills for nearly one million households struggling as a result of the pandemic. Read More
Compared with Other African Countries
  • 62.4
    Ethiopia 176,618
    Per 1M

    Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped mitigate spread early on in the crisis.

  • 83.2
    Ghana 87,985
    Per 1M

    Ghana scores strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts; while consistently strong, it does have very weak testing, limited emergency healthcare spending, and a weak stimulus.

  • 72.2
    Kenya 113,967
    Per 1M

    Kenya has a strong overall policy score, although down significantly from January. However, it is consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance with respect to facts and science on COVID-19.

  • 71.5
    South Africa 1,530,033
    Per 1M

    Overall, South Africa's score is relatively strong with vigorous policy implementation—particularly with respect to lockdowns—offset by its relatively meager financial response.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

Be the source of actionable insight.

Select one of the subscription options below to read the full Covid-19 Global Response Index. Unlock even more global intelligence with a subscription to FP Insider.

Already an FP Insider?

Best Value

One-Year All Access
FP Insider


1-year of full access to FP Insider exclusive content and subscription benefits

See benefits  ▾

  • All FP Analytics Special Reports, including the COVID-19 Global Response Index
  • FP Analytics Power Maps
  • Editorial conference calls
  • Unlimited articles on ForeignPolicy.com
  • Digital and print editions of FP’s award-winning magazine
  • Print archive, containing 50 years of FP journalism
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Security and defense news alerts
  • Bonus episodes of FP podcasts
  • FP mobile app

❌ Hide benefits


COVID-19 Report Bundle


30-day Access to the COVID-19 Global Response Index and Global Race to Vaccinate report

Looking for group access? Contact us directly

New Zealand

Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:

Pre-COVID Conditions:

  • Debt to GDP ratio
  • Infant mortality rates
  • Hospital beds per 1,000 people
  • Gini coefficients measuring inequality
  • Health access and quality

COVID-19 Public Health Directives:

  • Stay-at home orders
  • School-closing policy
  • Public-gathering restrictions
  • Cancellation of public events
  • Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
  • Emergency healthcare spending per capita
  • Travel restrictions
  • Contact tracing

COVID-19 Financial Response:

  • Stimulus package as a share of GDP
  • Income support
  • Debt-forbearance

Public Communications:

  • Instances of misinformation by leadership
  • Limitations on press freedom, censorship

Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:

  • Death rates per 1 million
  • Case rates per 1 million