71.7 Overall Score (up 24.3 since Aug 1st.)


  • 39.4 Public Health
  • 61.2 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 39.4 Public Health
  • 61.2 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Belgium has a relative strong score, with its generous income support and strong testing and contact tracing countered by limited public health directives.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Belgium had relatively strong pre-pandemic capacity, boasting accessible, quality healthcare, a healthy population, relatively low levels of inequality, and one of the highest rates of hospital beds per 100,000 people in the Index.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 102%
  • GDP/capita $50,905
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 27.4
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 87.9
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 44.5

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Belgium's weak score is due to relatively weak policy on lockdowns, school closings, and emergency healthcare spending. Most notably, Belgium's extremely high case rate pushes its scores down substantially, although Belgium is far more liberal in classifying COVID-19 cases than any other country, and it may appear to have a much higher relative incidence of the virus than it really does.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 1
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $141.51
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 878.6
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Belgium’s strong income support helps balance a relatively low stimulus package and poor debt-relief opportunities, but its score has dropped significantly due to other countries' stronger financial packages.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 10.8%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

Belgium’s government has communicated regularly with the public, avoiding misinformation or exaggeration, and publishing excess death numbers as well as more basic statistics.

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

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

Belgium had extremely high death and case rates, which health authorities attributed, in part, to COVID’s spread in care homes and high case rate, but it has greatly reduced these to be among the best in the Index, resulting in a strong score in this category.

  • Total deaths 2,979
  • Death rate per 100K 257
  • Total cases 809,861
  • Cases per 100K 36
  • Percent of positive tests 7
  • Change in positivity rates -0.3
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 04 Some businesses reopen 31.15
2 May 18 Shops and schools reopen 24.07
3 Jun 08 Religious institutions reopen 10.53
4 Jul 01 Malls and pools reopen 7.08
5 Aug 24 People allowed to shop in pairs with no time limits 13.46
6 Sep 01 Schools (except universities) reopen, funeral receptions allowed up to 50 people, public events allowed up to 200 (indoors) and 400 (outdoors) people 21.66
7 Sep 25 Travel allowed to high-risk regions, although discouraged 190.52
8 Oct 19 More limits on public gatherings, night shops close at 10pm, ban on entering public spaces at night, fewer sports spectators 709.86
9 Nov 02 New lockdown 546.78
10 Dec 01 Non-essential shops allowed to reopen 161.09
11 Dec 31 Tightened rules of foreign arrivals (mandate quarantine if traveling from red zone country, PCR testing) 194.48
12 Jan 08 Tightened rules on telework and traveling, extending restrictions to March 1st 176.71
13 Feb 05 Extended restrictions to April 1st 223.04
14 Feb 13 Outdoor animal parks, hairdressing salons allowed to reopen with restrictions; real estate industry allowed to reopen 163.51
15 Mar 08 Public outdoor gatherings allowed for up to 10 people 96.38

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 61
    Germany 2,585,385
    Per 1M

    Germany has improved its score a bit in the past few months, after a sharp decline in the fall. Its improvements in contact tracing, which are already likely underestimated in the data, and restrictions on public gatherings, have played important roles in this turnaround, although there has been a recent spike in cases, likely due to both recent restriction relaxations and vaccine rollout issues.

  • 44.1
    Norway 81,305
    Per 1M

    Norway scores just below the median, pulled down by its weak public health and financial response scores, despite a strong reliance on facts and a free press.

  • 60.8
    Sweden 712,527
    Per 1M

    Despite being known for a relatively strong public healthcare system, Sweden has been hit hard with cases; the country’s lack of stay-at-home orders and school closures, limited testing, and few gathering restrictions overshadowed its financial support, reliance on facts, and accountability with an open press.

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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