32.8 Overall Score (down 2.5 since Aug 1st.)


  • 51.9 Public Health
  • 41.9 Financial
  • 4 Fact-Based
  • 51.9 Public Health
  • 41.9 Financial
  • 4 Fact-Based

China’s aggressive lockdowns played a key role in controlling case and death rates. However, its low score is driven by multiple factors, including the country’s minimal financial response and lack of press freedom and fact-based communications. China’s failure to report testing obscures understanding of actual COVID-19 dynamics within the country.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Despite one of the best debt-to-GDP ratios, China’s relative underinvestment in healthcare infrastructure pre-COVID—notably hospital beds—limited its capacity to rapidly respond immediately to the crisis.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 50.6%
  • GDP/capita $20,984
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 38.5
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 7
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 74.2
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 29.9

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Strict stay-at-home orders issued early in the crisis mitigated the spread of the virus, but weak testing and little emergency healthcare spending keep China near the median on public health policy.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 1
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $14.45
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 111.2
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

China’s stimulus package was limited and provided minimal income support, resulting in a relatively weak score.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 6%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

China’s government has promoted factually incorrect information about COVID-19 and has limited press reporting on the pandemic.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 3
  • Press freedom 3

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

China’s early, restrictive lockdown likely contributed to it having among the lowest death and case rates in the Index, based on CCP reporting. However, China has not reported any official data on testing, and given its limited use of facts and press limitations, it is unclear how reliable these numbers are.

  • Total deaths 39
  • Death rate per 100K 0
  • Total cases 101,421
  • Cases per 100K 0
  • Percent of positive tests NO DATA
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 08 Wuhan lockdown ends 0.06
2 Jul 19 Urumqi (Xinjian capital) enters lockdown 0.06

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 51.7
    India 11,409,831
    Per 1M

    India scores just above the median, a large drop-off in recent months, keyed by substantial weakening of restrictions and worsening financial support.

  • 72.7
    Japan 448,000
    Per 1M

    Japan has a strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is very weak.

  • 62
    South Korea 96,380
    Per 1M

    South Korea has a relatively strong score, brought down some by its very weak financial policy; its public health score is likely underestimated here, given the data’s limitations to adequately account for the impacts of the country’s advanced contact tracing.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

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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