58.4 Overall Score (down 7.7 since Aug 1st.)


  • 17.2 Public Health
  • 53.6 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 17.2 Public Health
  • 53.6 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Despite strong financial support and a reliance on facts, France’s weak public health directives, particularly its relaxed lockdown, and limited testing keep its score near the median.

Pre-COVID Conditions

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 Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Sep 1.)

Public Health Directives

France has a relatively weak public health policy score, largely due to a relaxed stay-at-home policy, limited testing and contact tracing, and relatively little emergency healthcare spending.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 0
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $67.56
  • Travel restrictions 0
  • Tests/1,000 people 12.7
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

France has had a financial response around the median, characterized by generous debt forbearance and income support for both employed and unemployed workers.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 10.4%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

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 Sep 1

Despite a high death rate, France has kept its confirmed cases of coronavirus relatively low, likely attributable to its testing a wide range of the population, resulting in its relatively strong current status; its poor public health policies might explain the much higher death rate.

  • Total deaths 30,635
  • Death rate per 100K 469.3
  • Total cases 281,025
  • Cases per 100K 4,305
  • Percent of positive tests 3.6
  • Change in positivity rates +2.2
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Jun 02 Restaurants and bars reopen for outdoor dining 14.91
2 Jun 22 Nursery schools, primary schools, and junior high schools reopen 6.91
3 Aug 12 Halts plan to allow public gatherings of 5,000 people until October 30. 25.91

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Neighboring Countries
  • 54.7
    Italy 269,214
    Per 1M

    While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and relatively strong public health policies helped slow the spread and resulted in a relatively strong performance; its relatively limited financial response could have been impacted by its high levels of debt.

  • 68.7
    Germany 243,599
    Per 1M

    Germany’s pandemic response has been praised around the world for its rapidly implemented contact tracing strategy and science-based leadership, which contribute to its relatively strong performance in the Index.

  • 47.9
    Spain 462,858
    Per 1M

    Spain has a median score due to reliance on facts and an open media and a generous debt-forbearance policy. However, limited restrictions on public interactions and little stimulus support may be the reason why its cases are once again rising rapidly, bringing its score down.

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