79 Overall Score (down 2 since Aug 1st.)


  • 52.8 Public Health
  • 66.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 52.8 Public Health
  • 66.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped to mitigate spread early on in the crisis; however, Ethiopia faced a notable uptick in cases in August following easing of quarantine restrictions.

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 Sep 1.)

Public Health Directives

Ethiopia scores around the median, largely due to its limited testing, minimal emergency healthcare spending, and a weak stay-at-home order.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1.42
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 7.6
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

Ethiopia has offered little income support or debt relief for those affected by COVID-19 and a small stimulus package. However, its relatively low case rate boosts its score.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 3.4%
  • Income support 0
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Ethiopia’s health minster 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 Sep 1

Ethiopia has relatively few cases, which could be due to relatively clear messaging from leadership, but moderate testing to date could be obscuring actual case rates.

  • Total deaths 809
  • Death rate per 100K 7
  • Total cases 52,131
  • Cases per 100K 454
  • Percent of positive tests 7.9
  • Change in positivity rates -2.7
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Jun 19 Relax quarantine rules for foreign visitors 1.60

Differentiating Factors

  • Migrant laborers forced to return home may be fueling outbreak: Over 30,000 migrant laborers have been forced to retun home from Middle Eastern and north African countries, with lack of sanitation in migrant camps increasing the risk of coronvirus spread. Read More
  • Public focus on prevention: Ethiopia's large informal sector likely factored into the decision not to impose a harsh lockdown. Instead, the government has focused on prevention and clear messaging around the importance of hygiene and social distancing. Read More
  • Community healthcare has been key: The government has invested in community healthcare, to great effect. Health workers have screened an estimated 40 million people with temperature checks. The authorities have additionally created 15,000 beds in isolation centers. Read More
  • Development bank aid boosts capacity: In July, Ethiopia received a $165.08 million grant from the African Development Bank to support its health response and ease economic impacts. The government plans to increase testing laboratories and train 45,000 new healthcare workers. Read More
Compared with Other African Countries
  • 78
    Senegal 13,611
    Per 1M

    Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been relatively strong across the board, buoyed by a high degree of preparedness and a reliance on facts and science.

  • 89.5
    Ghana 44,298
    Per 1M

    Ghana scores very strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts, but its financial response was relatively weak, with a minimal stimulus and little income support.

  • 92
    Kenya 34,201
    Per 1M

    Kenya has a very strong overall policy score, consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance on facts and science on COVID-19.

  • 53.1
    South Africa 627,041
    Per 1M

    South Africa has had a medium policy response, driven by a vigorous lockdown, although its financial response, particularly its relatively small stimulus package, brings its score down. Despite its high score, its limited testing might explain why it is experiencing a spike in cases.

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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