51.7 Overall Score (down 22.6 since Aug 1st.)


  • 35.1 Public Health
  • 52.7 Financial
  • 60 Fact-Based
  • 35.1 Public Health
  • 52.7 Financial
  • 60 Fact-Based

India scores just above the median, a large drop-off in recent months, keyed by substantial weakening of restrictions and worsening financial support.

Pre-COVID Conditions

India’s weak healthcare system, poor population health, very low number of hospital beds, and low GDP-per-capita resulted in it being vulnerable to the pandemic.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 68.1%
  • GDP/capita $9,027
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 37.8
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 30
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 44.8
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 4.4

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)

Public Health Directives

India scores poorly in this category, a major decline due to its loosening restrictions while still facing high case rates.

  • Stay at home order 3
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 2
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.91
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 164.8
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Despite wide-ranging debt forbearance, India scores just above the median due to its small stimulus and weak income support.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 9.9%
  • Income support 0
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Across the country, Indian journalists have been arrested for sedition or spreading "fake news" in response to their reporting on the state’s handling of COVID-19.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 0
  • Press freedom 2

COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15

India has performed consistently strongly in this category across all subcategories, particularly with its low death rate; lockdown extensions helped to bring spiking case rates under control.

  • Total deaths 23,578
  • Death rate per 100K 17.1
  • Total cases 11,409,831
  • Cases per 100K 132
  • Percent of positive tests 3.1
  • Change in positivity rates +1.4
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 29 Government permits stranded people to travel within the country 1.26
2 Jun 08 Restaurants, offices, malls, and places of worship reopen 6.12
3 Sep 07 Metro rail trains resume 54.93
4 Sep 21 Taj Mahal reopens, as do schools in eight states, public gatherings allowed up to 100 people 54.41
5 Oct 15 Cinemas allowed to open with 50 percent capacity, entertainment parks open, congregations allowed up to 200 people 45.92
6 Oct 27 Extended localized lockdowns 31.81

Differentiating Factors

  • Homegrown vaccine effective: Two months after its approval, data showed that Covaxin, India's homegrown COVID-19 vaccine from Bharat Biotech, prevented COVID-19 in 81 percent of patients who had received two doses. Read More
  • Global vaccine exports begin: India began shipping out Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines produced in-country to COVAX to begin the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Read More
  • Vaccine diplomacy in region starts: India donated millions of doses of domestically manufactured Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to South Asian countries, likely in an effort to push back against China and improve its global profile. Read More
  • Pandemic shrinks India's economy: India, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, has now become one of the fastest-shrinking ones due to the pandemic by impacting domestic spending, with two consecutive quarters of the economy contracting for the first time in two decades. Read More
  • Middle class devastated by COVID-19: The engine of India's economy, its middle-class consumer base, was already faltering before COVID-19, and now consumption is down as much as 55 percent, raising long-term concerns about India's economy and poverty in the country. Read More
  • Tech and lockdowns can't overcome big city dynamics: Despite early success, India's Silicon Valley has not been able to contain COVID-19, as there was an assumption that technology and the lockdown would sufficiently stop its spread, and not enough planning about the role of inbound travelers as spreaders. Read More
  • Cases skyrocket, government quiets criticism: India had more new COVID-19 cases in August than any other country; data suggests there may be 20 times as many cases as are being reported, and the government appears to be focusing on public relations and obfuscating the actual impact of the coronavirus. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
  • 32.8
    China 101,421
    Per 1M

    China’s aggressive lockdowns played a key role in controlling case and death rates. However, its low score is driven by multiple factors, including the country’s minimal financial response and lack of press freedom and fact-based communications. China’s failure to report testing obscures understanding of actual COVID-19 dynamics within the country.

  • 0
    Iran 1,754,933
    Per 1M

    Iran has a very weak policy score, due largely to very weak public health policy, driven by a severe lack of testing and substantial misinformation and press limitations by the national authorities.

  • 37.3
    Russia 4,350,728
    Per 1M

    Russia has a relatively weak score, with strong public health policy undone by weak financial support, limitations on press freedom, and spread of misinformation about the pandemic.

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