0 Overall Score (No change since Aug 1st)


  • 1 Public Health
  • 24 Financial
  • 0 Fact-Based
  • 1 Public Health
  • 24 Financial
  • 0 Fact-Based

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.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Iran was near the median in its pre-pandemic capacity, with minimal debt, and its relatively healthy population counterbalanced by a very low number of hospital beds and low GDP per capita.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 32.2%
  • GDP/capita $17,832
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.8
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 12
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 71.1
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 10.2

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Iran has not mobilized any additional funds for emergency healthcare responses, which, coupled with its limited testing, and limited travel restrictions, explains its very weak public health policy score.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 1
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 47.8
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Iran’s fiscal stimulus is relatively small, but it has offered strong debt support for workers to the extent that it is able, given the struggling economy.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 8.6%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Press suppression and misinformation have been rife, with authorities suppressing information about the virus’s spread, ignoring the benefits of social distancing and PPE, and claiming that the coronavirus is a weapon made by the U.S. to bring down Iran.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 5
  • Press freedom 2

COVID-19 Status as of Oct 1

Iran’s in-country COVID-19 status is relatively strong, with a high case rate countered by a lower death rate and a fairly low positivity rate. However, its limited use of facts and its press limitations might put some of these numbers in question.

  • Total deaths 26,169
  • Death rate per 100K 311.6
  • Total cases 457,219
  • Cases per 100K 5,444
  • Percent of positive tests 13.1
  • Change in positivity rates +3.2
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 20 Malls and bazaars reopen 17.90
2 Apr 22 Parks and recreation areas reopen 16.88
3 May 12 Mosques reopen 18.10
4 May 16 Schools reopen 20.32
5 May 26 All businesses and major religious sites reopen 25.91
6 Aug 01 State of emergency extended until at least January 2021 30.07
7 Sep 12 Schools and seminaries reopen 25.56

Differentiating Factors

  • Cases rise, flu vaccines imported: As the COVID situation has worsened, Iran has imported 20 million doses of flu vaccine for 25 percent of the population to fight against the virus.The healthcare commission has also announced that it has not yet received promised funds from the national development funds, leading to shortages in equipment and treatment. Read More
  • Poor governance and U.S. sanctions aid second wave of COVID-19: Iran is being hit hard by COVID-19 again, driven by disinformation from political leaders, poor governance, media censorship, and U.S. sanctions that have kept needed medical resources away from the country at the worst time. Read More
  • Remdesivir starting to be used to treat cases: Iran has started distributing Remdesivir to hospitals and plans to start human trials of a vaccine within weeks. Read More
  • Daily newspaper shut down following government criticism: Iran's Press Supervisory Board revoked the license of Jahane Sanat, an economic-based daily paper, for publishing an interview with a member of Iran’s National Coronavirus Task Force who claimed the government is underreporting the extent of damage COVID-19 has actually caused. Read More
  • Restrictions enacted but not enforced: Flights between Iran and China continued to operate until late February, despite the authorities ordering flights to be suspended on January 31st. Lack of enforcement of this decision has been linked to the government's desire to retain diplomatic ties with China, one of its few friends. Read More
  • Millions lose income due to COVID-19: An estimated 7.3 million people are thought to be living in financial precarity due to the coronavirus. Despite this, Iran struggled to support its population due to the impacts of U.S. sanctions, which may have directly impacted the decision to re-open the country in April. Read More
  • Restrictions come too late: Iran's early enforcement of prevention measures was weak and delayed, but—facing a rise in cases in July—the government made face masks mandatory in public spaces, threatening that non-compliance would result in people losing access to state support services. Read More
Compared with the Nearest Countries in the Index
  • 87.1
    India 6,312,584
    Per 1M

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

  • 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.

  • 38.1
    Turkey 318,663
    Per 1M

    Turkey has very weak policy, driven by little emergency spending, stimulus, or debt relief, and loosening restrictions. It also has limited press freedom and has conducted minimal testing.

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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