93.6 Overall Score (up 5.6 since Aug 1st.)


  • 62.3 Public Health
  • 74 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 62.3 Public Health
  • 74 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

Kenya has a strong overall policy score, although down significantly from January. However, it is consistently scoring well in all areas, particularly its reliance with respect to 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 Oct 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 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 2
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $0.00
  • Travel restrictions 2
  • Tests/1,000 people 10.1
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Kenya’s small 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 Oct 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 711
  • Death rate per 100K 13.2
  • Total cases 38,529
  • Cases per 100K 717
  • Percent of positive tests 4.9
  • Change in positivity rates -6.1
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown 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

  • Alleged schemes for missing aid: Preliminary research demonstrates that UBI for rural communities that were hit hardest by COVID improve Kenyans' abilities to weather lockdown measures. Read More
  • Vaccine trial approved: Pharmacy and Poisons Board approved human trials for a potential vaccine. If approved by the National Commisssion for Science, Technology, and Innovation (Nacosti), the trials will target 400 volunteer healthcare workers. Read More
  • Several schemes alleged: $2B in aid has gone missing, and the Network Action Against Corruption (NAAC) has accused KEMSA of embezzling the funds. Read More
  • 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
Compared with Other African Countries
  • 87.7
    Ethiopia 75,368
    Per 1M

    Despite having relatively weak pre-pandemic capacity, swift action and prevention-based messaging from the government helped mitigate spread early on in the crisis.

  • 92.3
    Ghana 46,656
    Per 1M

    Ghana scores strongly on the Index, due primarily to its proactive public health policy, strong examples set by leadership, and reliance on facts; while consistently strong, it does have very weak testing, limited emergency healthcare spending, and a weak stimulus.

  • 82.8
    Senegal 14,982
    Per 1M

    Senegal’s COVID-19 policy response has been very strong across the board, buoyed by strong public health directives and a reliance on science and facts.

  • 69
    South Africa 674,339
    Per 1M

    Overall, South Africa's score is relatively strong with vigorous policy implementation—particularly with respect to lockdowns—offset by its relatively meager financial response.

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