92 Overall Score (up 4 since Aug 1st.)


  • 76.8 Public Health
  • 72.7 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 76.8 Public Health
  • 72.7 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Kenya has a very strong overall policy score, consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance on facts and science on COVID-19.

Pre-COVID Conditions

Kenya is one of the poorest countries in the Index, with a high infant mortality rate and low hospital bed availability, limiting its capacity pre-COVID-19.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 60.1%
  • GDP/capita $4,078
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) 40.8
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 31
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 48.7
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 9.5

Government Response

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

Public Health Directives

Kenya had strong, early health policy directives pertaining to the pandemic, although its relatively strong score was brought down by limited testing, travel restrictions, and contact tracing.

  • Stay at home order 2
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 8.3
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Kenya’s median-level stimulus package pushed its financial response score down, although it is still relatively strong, driven by its supportive policy on debt and income assistance.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 0.9%
  • Income support 1
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

Kenya’s government is very strong in this category, as it 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 Sep 1

Kenya's in-country pandemic status is very strong, consistently so across all categories, which could have been boosted by its strong restrictions on public interactions.

  • Total deaths 577
  • Death rate per 100K 10.7
  • Total cases 34,201
  • Cases per 100K 636
  • Percent of positive tests 6.7
  • Change in positivity rates -4.3
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 Apr 27 Restaurants begin to reopen 0.23
2 Jul 06 Places of worship (but not Sunday schools or madrassas) begin reopening, with restrictions 4.83

Differentiating Factors

  • Healthcare workers threaten strike over PPE shortages from corruption: Healthcare workers have threatened a strike over low supplies of PPE during COVID-19, which they claim is due to government corruption. Read More
  • New, more humane quarantine guidelines: Kenya launched guidelines for self-isolation for COVID-19 patients, a reversal from its previous policy that forced quarantines of thousands in crowded government facilities with poor sanitation and limited PPE. Read More
  • Lockdown devastated informal sector: An estimated 15 million Kenyans work in the informal economy, compared to just 2.9 million formal sector workers. Kenya's lockdown measures, including curfews and travel restrictions, have essentially prevented the majority of workers from conducting trade and earning money. Read More
  • Lockdown enforcement turned violent: Kenyan security forces have reportedly whipped and even killed civilians in their enforcement of lockdown measures. Unclear and hastily imposed lockdown measures have provided cover for military and police forces around the world to respond violently to civilians. Read More
  • Tourism industry undercut: In June, Kenya's tourism minister announced that the country had lost the equivalent of half of 2019's tourist revenue so far, about $752 million or 80 billion shillings. Read More
Compared with Other African Countries
  • 79
    Ethiopia 52,131
    Per 1M

    Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped to mitigate spread early on in the crisis; however, Ethiopia faced a notable uptick in cases in August following easing of quarantine restrictions.

  • 89.5
    Ghana 44,298
    Per 1M

    Ghana scores very strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts, but its financial response was relatively weak, with a minimal stimulus and little income support.

  • 78
    Senegal 13,611
    Per 1M

    Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been relatively strong across the board, buoyed by a high degree of preparedness and a reliance on facts and science.

  • 53.1
    South Africa 627,041
    Per 1M

    South Africa has had a medium policy response, driven by a vigorous lockdown, although its financial response, particularly its relatively small stimulus package, brings its score down. Despite its high score, its limited testing might explain why it is experiencing a spike in cases.

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