55.1 Overall Score (down 2.9 since Aug 1st.)


  • 0 Public Health
  • 49.2 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 0 Public Health
  • 49.2 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Iceland scores near the median, having strong public communications and testing but moderate interventions otherwise.

Pre-COVID Conditions

A low debt-to-GDP ratio, a very healthy population, minimal inequality, and widely accessible quality health services overshadow Iceland’s low number of hospital beds and made it relatively well-positioned to respond to the pandemic.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 37.6%
  • GDP/capita $56,974
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 26.8
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 2
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 93.6
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 22.6

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Iceland has a relatively weak public health policy score, driven by no real lockdown of any sort, and weak scores in most areas except contact tracing and testing policy.

  • Stay at home order 0
  • Public gathering restrictions 2
  • School closings 0
  • Public event cancellations 1
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 376.4
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Iceland’s weak stimulus package brings its score down near the median, despite having generous debt forbearance.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 9.2%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Iceland’s health authorities have made regular, fact-based briefings to the press.

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

COVID-19 Status as of Oct 1

Despite a very high rate of confirmed cases early on, reflected by substantial testing, Iceland effectively brought its numbers down; the country is again enforcing restrictions in an effort to manage a spike in cases.

  • Total deaths 10
  • Death rate per 100K 29.3
  • Total cases 2,728
  • Cases per 100K 7,994
  • Percent of positive tests 2.5
  • Change in positivity rates +1.4
Case Trend Line
Daily cases
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 04 Schools, personal services venues, gyms, bars, and pools open, increasing gathering sizes from 20 to 50 2.93
2 May 25 Up to 200 people are allowed to gather 0.84
3 Jun 15 People arriving in Iceland undergo a COVID test or a 14-day quarantine; up to 500 people are allowed to gather 1.26
4 Jul 31 Gatherings of over 100 people are banned; masks are mandatory on public transit; screening at airports intensifies 12.98

Differentiating Factors

Compared with Other Island Nations
  • 69
    Indonesia 287,008
    Per 1M

    Indonesia performs relatively strongly in the Index, with consistent scores across all categories.

  • 96.8
    Japan 83,010
    Per 1M

    Japan has a very strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is slightly below the median.

  • 100
    New Zealand 1,480
    Per 1M

    New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly its reliance on science and facts, and its very strong financial response.

  • 60.9
    Taiwan 514
    Per 1M

    Taiwan has a relatively strong overall policy score, but does not score as highly as expected due to a lack of lockdown, minimal stimulus, and weak support for debt relief. Given data limitations, the score likely underestimates Taiwan’s very strong contact-tracing policy, which is so advanced that it may have diminished the need for other policy responses.

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


Limited Access


30-day access to the Index only

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