62.4 Overall Score (down 18.6 since Aug 1st.)


  • 41.4 Public Health
  • 34.4 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 41.4 Public Health
  • 34.4 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

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

Pre-COVID Conditions

With the highest infant mortality rate, lowest GDP per capita, and lowest availability of hospital beds in the Index, Ethiopia’s pre-pandemic capacity was very weak.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 61%
  • GDP/capita $2,702
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 35
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 39
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 44.2
  • 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

Ethiopia scores near the median on public health policy, with loosened restrictions and weaker testing policy driving its score down substantially in the past few months.

  • Stay at home order 0
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 1
  • Public event cancellations 1
  • Testing policy 1
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1.42
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 19.4
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

Despite a relatively low case rate, Ethiopia provided moderate financial support to those affected by COVID-19, although its stimulus package was relatively weak.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 3.5%
  • Income support 0
  • Debt forebearance 0

Fact-Based Communication

Ethiopia’s health minister has held regular press briefings, providing fact- and science-based communication to the public with an emphasis on infection prevention.

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

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

After a brief uptick in cases in the fall, Ethiopia has managed to keep its case and death rates at relatively low levels throughout the winter, but its positivity rate increased substantially.

  • Total deaths 1,355
  • Death rate per 100K 11.8
  • Total cases 176,618
  • Cases per 100K 16
  • Percent of positive tests 19.5
  • Change in positivity rates +11.9
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Jun 19 Relax quarantine rules for foreign visitors 1.01
2 Jul 08 Ethiopian Air starts flying again 8.07
3 Oct 20 Government announces 30 percent of schools will reopen 5.48

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Other African Countries
  • 97.2
    Senegal 36,996
    Per 1M

    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.

  • 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

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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