66 Overall Score (up 0.4 since Aug 1st.)


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

While hit hard by COVID-19, Italy’s reliance on facts and improved contact tracing has helped slow the spread and slightly improved its overall score since January.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Despite a relatively strong overall healthcare system, Italy’s low number of hospital beds likely played a major role in COVID-19’s devastating impact there.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 135.5%
  • GDP/capita $41,582
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 35.9
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 88.7
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 24.1

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Italy’s limited testing and low emergency healthcare spending likely played a role in it becoming an epicenter of the pandemic early on, but its strong policy response likely helped the country manage its case spike fairly quickly.

  • Stay at home order 0
  • Public gathering restrictions 2
  • School closings 0
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $122.23
  • Travel restrictions 3
  • Tests/1,000 people 187.5
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Italy has a very weak score on financial support, driven largely by its low level of income support for workers, which it also implemented fairly late in the crisis.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 12.7%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

Italy’s government has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.

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

COVID-19 Status as of Oct 1

Italy’s current status with COVID-19 is relatively strong, with a high death rate balanced by a very low positivity rate, likely due to strong public health policy.

  • Total deaths 35,894
  • Death rate per 100K 593.7
  • Total cases 314,861
  • Cases per 100K 5,208
  • Percent of positive tests 1.9
  • Change in positivity rates +0.9
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 18 Retail, restaurants, and hairdressers reopen 15.04
2 May 25 Sports facilities reopen 10.45
3 Jun 15 cinemas and theaters reopened 4.70
4 Aug 17 Nightclubs close, masks mandated 7.91
5 Sep 14 Some schools reopen 23.91
6 Sep 18 Relaxes ban on spectators at sporting events, allowing up to 1,000 fans per game 23.26

Differentiating Factors

  • Italy maintains lockdown: Italy's numbers have dropped as quarantine measures have been maintained, keeping second wave at bay. A new rule requires all French travelers to be tested to enter the country. Read More
  • Migrants become targets for right-wing politicians: As COVID-19 numbers climb in Italy, right-wing political leaders are inaccurately blaming migrants for the rise. Read More
  • Rising cases amidst relaxed public prompt increased restrictions: With a rise in COVID-19 cases, likely due to an increasingly relaxed populace, Italy closed nightclubs and mandated face masks. Read More
  • Strict lockdown succeeds at price of economic health: Italy's tourist industry has maintained its economy through economic downturns and global recessions, but COVID-19's devastating early impact on Italy, and its related travel restrictions, have eliminated this economic safety net, raising questions about Italy's reslience and post-pandemic recovery. Read More
  • Working mothers bear brunt of crisis: The government allocated $8.6 billion to support families and businesses during Italy's strict lockdown. Despite this intervention, NGOs are predicting that working women will be the Italians hardest hit by the pandemic. Nearly three quarters of working mothers have continued to work outside the home throughout the pandemic, and 70 percent of those who have contracted COVID-19 at work are female, due to their over-representation in essential work. Read More
  • COVID-19 requires new response to migration: Southern Italy remains a popular entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, necessitating new protocols for migrant arrivals. In early July, 180 migrants rescued from the sea were subjected to a two-week quarantine on board a ship docked in Sicily, where NGOs have reported a high incidence of violence and suicide attempts. Read More
Compared with Neighboring/Nearest Countries
  • 45.2
    Switzerland 53,162
    Per 1M

    Switzerland's reliance on facts and an open media drove its score up to the median, helping to counter weak financial support and limited restrictions on social interactions.

  • 72
    France 563,535
    Per 1M

    France maintained its improved public health policy from the early fall, keeping its score relatively strong, although poor contact tracing and a relatively small stimulus package kept it from being higher.

  • 45.8
    Spain 778,607
    Per 1M

    Spain's score jumped since January to just over the median, having implemented stricter public health policies, but the country's minimal stimulus support still drags down its overall score.

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


COVID-19 Report Bundle


30-day Access to the COVID-19 Global Response Index and Global Race to Vaccinate report

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