87.7 Overall Score (up 6.7 since Aug 1st.)


  • 55.8 Public Health
  • 67.1 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 55.8 Public Health
  • 67.1 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 Oct 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 1
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $1.42
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 11.1
  • Contact tracing 1

Financial Response

With a relatively low case rate, Ethiopia has provided moderate financial support to those affected by COVID-19 with a small stimulus package.

  • 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 Oct 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 1,198
  • Death rate per 100K 10.4
  • Total cases 75,368
  • Cases per 100K 656
  • Percent of positive tests 9.7
  • Change in positivity rates -0.9
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

  • Cases rise, tech investment does too: Government partnered with Chinese company BGI Health Ethiopia to produce test kits, ventilators, intensive care beds and progress vaccine research. Ethiopia is the 3rd highest African country in terms of tests. Read More
  • 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
  • 82.8
    Senegal 14,982
    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.

  • 92.3
    Ghana 46,656
    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.

  • 93.6
    Kenya 38,529
    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.

  • 69
    South Africa 674,339
    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

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


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


COVID-19 Report Bundle


30-day Access to the COVID-19 Global Response Index and Global Race to Vaccinate report

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