56.3 Overall Score (up 8.9 since Aug 1st.)


  • 27.3 Public Health
  • 59.1 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 27.3 Public Health
  • 59.1 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 Jan 1.)

Public Health Directives

Belgium scores near the bottom on public health, with open testing and strong contact tracing countered by relatively weak policy on lockdowns, school closings, and emergency healthcare spending; most notably, Belgium's extremely high case rate pushes its scores down substantially, as most of its policies appear to be implemented well into its crisis, although Belgium is far more liberal in classifying COVID-19 cases than any other country, and 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 $141.62
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 601.8
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Belgium’s very strong income support helps overcome a relatively low stimulus package and poor debt-relief opportunities.

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

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 Jan 1

Belgium has the highest death rate in the Index, which health authorities attribute, in part, to COVID’s spread in care homes and high case rate. Its liberal classification of COVID-19 cases, discussed above, also likely plays a role.

  • Total deaths 19,581
  • Death rate per 100K 1689.5
  • Total cases 648,289
  • Cases per 100K 55,937
  • Percent of positive tests 7.3
  • Change in positivity rates +2.8
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 04 Some businesses reopen 44.13
2 May 18 Shops and schools reopen 26.01
3 Jun 08 Religious institutions reopen 10.24
4 Jul 01 Malls and pools reopen 7.53
5 Aug 24 People allowed to shop in pairs with no time limits 43.86
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 37.47
7 Sep 25 Travel allowed to high-risk regions, although discouraged 139.62
8 Oct 19 More limits on public gatherings, night shops close at 10pm, ban on entering public spaces at night, fewer sports spectators 796.28
9 Nov 02 New lockdown 1,400.72
10 Dec 01 Non-essential shops allowed to reopen 214.59
11 Dec 31 Tightened rules of foreign arrivals (mandate quarantine if traveling from red zone country, PCR testing) 142.89

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 52.6
    Germany 1,762,637
    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.

  • 53.9
    Norway 49,803
    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.

  • 30.8
    Sweden 437,379
    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