The United States suffers record unemployment while Europe fares better in battling the coronavirus shutdown.
- 66.6 Public Health
- 73.9 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
France maintained its improved public health policy from the early fall, keeping its score relatively strong, although poor contact tracing and a relatively small stimulus package kept it from being higher.
France had relatively strong socio-economic and healthcare capacity pre-pandemic, including a robust universal healthcare system (generally seen as one of the best in the world), minimal debt, and a very healthy population.
- Debt/GDP ratio 98.4%
- GDP/capita $48,640
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 31.6
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 87.9
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 46.7
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Jan 1.)
Public Health Directives
France has a relatively strong public health policy score, boosted by a significant increase in emergency healthcare spending since the early fall and relatively strong restrictions on public interactions, although it has limited testing and contact tracing.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 2
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $177.62
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people NO DATA
- Contact tracing 2
France has had a relatively strong financial response, driven by debt forbearance and income support for both employed and unemployed workers.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 15.8%
- Income support 2
- Debt forebearance 0
High-level health officials have provided regular press briefings, first daily and then weekly and monthly.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Jan 1
France continues its struggle to contain the virus, with a high death rate and rapid uptick in cases in the fall, although strict restrictions helped bring it under control.
- Total deaths 64,892
- Death rate per 100K 994.2
- Total cases 2,697,014
- Cases per 100K 41,319
- Percent of positive tests 5.2
- Change in positivity rates -4.2
|1||Jun 02||Restaurants and bars reopen for outdoor dining||12.90|
|2||Jun 22||Nursery schools, primary schools, and junior high schools reopen||7.94|
|3||Aug 12||Halts plan to allow public gatherings of 5,000 people until October 30||28.09|
|4||Oct 30||Partial lockdown—schools open, but non-essential businesses close||641.28|
|5||Dec 15||Replace lockdown with night curfew||180.26|
- Emmanuel Macron tests positive for COVID-19: On December 17th, the French president tested positive for COVID-19 after displaying symptoms. Macron is self-isolating for a seven-day period in Versailles and plans to keep working remotely, while his positive diagnosis has forced other high-profile European leaders to self-isolate as well. Read More
- France will enforce night-time curfew starting December 15th: The previously enforced stay-at-home order will be lifted on December 15th, but a daily curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. will remain in effect. Museums, cinemas, theaters, sports venues, bars, and restaurants will all remain closed through the start of 2021 as well. Read More
- France confirms first case of Coronavirus variant: The first case of the more contagious COVID-19 variant originating in the U.K. was confirmed on December 25th, 2020, in the city of Tours, about 150 miles southwest of Paris. Read More
- COVID alert level to highest: France raised alert levels to the highest level across various cities and imposed tighter restrictions as cases surged. Read More
- Facemasks made mandatory amid case spike: Mask requirements are expanding from most enclosed spaces to workplaces and public areas, with requirements to apply to those age 11 and over. Read More
- Income support mitigated layoffs: France has averted high unemployment by paying 80 percent of wages to workers who would otherwise be laid off due to the pandemic. Read More
- Pre-pandemic healthcare tensions stymied response: Despite being widely seen as one of the best healthcare systems in the world prior to the outbreak, nearly half of France's public hospital workers were protesting low salaries and disorganization in the health system. Read More
Compared with Neighboring Countries
Per 1M 74,621
While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and improved contact tracing has helped slow the spread and slightly improved its overall score since January.
Per 1M 34,145
Germany has improved its score a bit in the past few months, after a sharp decline in the fall. Its improvements in contact tracing, which are already likely underestimated in the data, and restrictions on public gatherings, have played important roles in this turnaround, although there has been a recent spike in cases, likely due to both recent restriction relaxations and vaccine rollout issues.
Per 1M 50,837
Spain's score jumped since January to just over the median, having implemented stricter public health policies, but the country's minimal stimulus support still drags down its overall score.
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? Log In
Looking for group access? Contact us directly
Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- 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
- 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