87.1 Overall Score (up 12.8 since Aug 1st.)


  • 100 Public Health
  • 61.4 Financial
  • 60 Fact-Based
  • 100 Public Health
  • 61.4 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 Oct 1.)

Public Health Directives

India’s public health policy directives score very strongly, with relatively strong school and public restrictions countering limited testing and low emergency healthcare spending.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 4
  • School closings 2
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.91
  • Travel restrictions 4
  • Tests/1,000 people 54.8
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

India’s relatively strong score is driven by its wide-ranging debt forbearance and relief, but its stimulus is fairly small, and its income support is around the median for workers, many of whom are employed in the informal sector or in migrant work.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 7%
  • 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 Oct 1

India has performed consistently strongly in this category across all subcategories, particularly with its low death rate; however, numbers are recently spiking following easing of lockdown restrictions.

  • Total deaths 98,678
  • Death rate per 100K 71.5
  • Total cases 6,312,584
  • Cases per 100K 4,574
  • Percent of positive tests 7.4
  • Change in positivity rates -2.8
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 1.18
2 Jun 08 Restaurants, offices, malls, and places of worship reopen 6.84
3 Sep 07 Metro rail trains resume 66.37

Differentiating Factors

  • Cases rise, restrictions lighten: Despite having more than 5.4 million COVID cases, lockdown fatigue has swept through India, and the government has lightened restrictions on trains, flights, markets, restaurants, and tourist destinations. 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
  • 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
  • Cases rising rapidly in every part of India: COVID-19 has spread rapidly throughout India, largely due to lockdown fatigue, poor contact tracing, and crowded cities, and the urge to reopen local economies is likely going to make things substantially worse. 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
  • Hospitals overloaded: India's healthcare system is largely privatized, but private hospitals are being forced to close as staff contract coronavirus, and have reportedly been refusing to treat COVID-19 patients. Despite requisitioning up to 80 percent of private hospital beds in Mumbai and New Delhi, authorities are still unable to treat the scale of infections. Read More
  • Rapid re-opening undoes early successes: In early July, India overtook Russia to become the country with the third-highest number of confirmed cases. This came one month after the re-opening of shopping centres, places of worship and offices, demonstrating the importance of India's initial lockdown to keeping cases down. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
  • 39.7
    China 90,528
    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 457,219
    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.

  • 33.5
    Russia 1,176,286
    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