33.5 Overall Score (down 1.8 since Aug 1st.)

China

  • 85.9 Public Health
    Directives
  • 22.3 Financial
    Response
  • 4 Fact-Based
    Communication
  • 85.9 Public Health
    Directives
  • 22.3 Financial
    Response
  • 4 Fact-Based
    Communication

China has a weak score, driven by their minimal financial response, and low scores on press freedom and fact-based communications with the public; China’s failure to report testing data and questions over data reliability obscure understanding of its actual COVID-19 status.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Despite one of the best debt-to-GDP ratios, China’s relative underinvestment in healthcare infrastructure–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 Sep 1.)
85.9

Public Health Directives

Strict stay-at-home orders issued on February 1st mitigated a worse spread of the virus and helped drive China’s relatively strong public health policy, though its limited emergency healthcare spending and testing policy push its score slightly lower.

  • Stay at home order 3
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $14.45
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people NO DATA
  • Contact tracing 2
22.3

Financial Response

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

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 4.5%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 1
4

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 Sep 1

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 4,723
  • Death rate per 100K 3.3
  • Total cases 89,914
  • Cases per 100K 63
  • Percent of positive tests NO DATA
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 08 Wuhan lockdown ends 0.05
2 Jul 19 Urumqi (Xinjian capital) enters lockdown 0.04

Differentiating Factors

  • Wartime Mode in Xinjiang meeting resistance: While much of China has re-opened from COVID-19 lockdowns, the 22 million residents of the Western region of Xinjiang—half of whom are Uighurs—remain under severe lockdown and surveilled by community officials and auxiliary police. Read More
  • Vaccine potential faces headwinds: Chinese companies are among the leaders in the development of a COVID-19 vaccines, but may struggle to find the thousands of participants necessary for Phase III trials and will face intense scrutiny given the country's opaque regulatory system, limited disclosure of data, and previous vaccine scandals. Read More
  • COVID-19 could worsen inequality: The pandemic is likely to exacerbate inequality in China, which spends just 3 percent of its annual GDP on social welfare programs like unemployment insurance and affordable housing. By comparison, most developed countries spend 12 percent of GDP. Read More
  • Limited transparency over data: China has a history of opaque governance that prioritizes stability over transparency, resulting in mutual distrust between the public and authorities, and raising questions about the accuracy of its published COVID-19 data. Read More
  • Out-of-pocket expenses hitting the vulnerable: China's healthcare is largely private, with out-of-pocket expenses three times as high as the U.S. average, hindering widespread access to medical care. Read More
Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 69.1
    India 3,691,166
    Cases
    2,675
    Per 1M
    65,228
    Deaths

    India has a relatively strong score in the Index due to its relatively strong financial response and initially strict lockdown, although case numbers continue to rise rapidly.

  • 88
    Japan 68,392
    Cases
    541
    Per 1M
    1,296
    Deaths

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

  • 40.5
    South Korea 20,182
    Cases
    394
    Per 1M
    324
    Deaths

    South Korea scores around the median, largely due to 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

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

$450

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

 

One-Month
Limited Access

$99

30-day access to the Index only

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