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- 94.6 Public Health
- 40.1 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Saudi Arabia has a relatively strong policy response to COVID-19, with a reliance on facts and science, and tight restrictions on public gatherings, although its weak financial response brings its score down.
Saudi Arabia was strong in most categories, but has a very low number of hospital beds.
- Debt/GDP ratio 19%
- GDP/capita $56,912
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) NO DATA
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 6
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 79.4
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 19
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Jan 1.)
Public Health Directives
Saudi Arabia has had very strong public health policy, excelling in almost every area except testing.
- Stay at home order 0
- Public gathering restrictions 3
- School closings 3
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $4.01
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 318.1
- Contact tracing 2
Saudi Arabia scored near the median for financial response, due to a non-existent stimulus package and weak debt policy.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP -2.2%
- Income support 2
- Debt forebearance 1
Saudi Arabia’s government has not been found to engage in misinformation or limit press freedom in response to COVID-19.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Jan 1
Saudi Arabia has a relatively strong score in this category, buoyed by its very low positivity rate and relatively low case and death rates.
- Total deaths 6,230
- Death rate per 100K 179
- Total cases 362,878
- Cases per 100K 10,423
- Percent of positive tests 0.4
- Change in positivity rates -0.7
|1||May 28||Domestic movement is allowed, retail and malls reopen||62.00|
|2||May 31||Employees are allowed to return to work with minimal staff; domestic flights, rail, and public transit reopen; mosques and restaurants reopen||52.12|
|3||Jun 21||Curfew is fully lifted; domestic travel returns to normal levels||123.40|
|4||Aug 24||Land borders reopen to Saudi citizens and their non-Saudi family||35.86|
|5||Aug 30||Public sector employees return to work||30.13|
|6||Sep 15||Partially lift suspension of international flights for specific groups of people||19.26|
|7||Oct 04||Umrah pilgrimage allowed for nationals and residents at 30 percent capacity||13.11|
|8||Oct 18||Umrah pilgrimage up to 75 percent capacity||12.04|
|9||Nov 01||Umrah resumes for foreign pilgrims age 18-50||11.41|
|10||Dec 27||Shut down border and international flights for two weeks to prevent spread of new virus strain||4.97|
- Pilgrims advised to get vaccine: Saudi Arabia's Minister of Hajj and Umrah has advised that pilgrims entering the country and traveling within it get vaccinated before they embark. Read More
- Saudi Arabia launches vaccination campaign: Over 150,000 people registered to be vaccinated, after Saudi Arabia became the first Middle Eastern country to obtain the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December. Citizens and residents can get the vaccine for free. Read More
- Economists predict 3.7 percent contraction: Despite a rebound in growth in Q3 and Q4, the Saudi economy is predicted to shrink by 3.7 percent by the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus and drop in oil revenues. The 2021 budget will be cut by 7 percent in an attempt to balance the deficit. Read More
- Vision 2030 presses ahead: Despite cuts to the national budget, concerns over unemployment, the cost of living, and depreciating oil prices, Saudi Arabia presses ahead with Vision 2030, and continues to build megaprojects to draw tourists and investment. Read More
- Government supported private sector: Saudi Arabia has mobilized more than 3.5 billion riyals ($933 million) to support 480,000 private sector workers, including by covering up to 60 percent of salaries. Before the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate was already high, at 12 percent. Read More
- 2020 Hajj had major restrictions: While typically attracting around 2.5 million people, Saudi authorities put a 10,000-person cap on the 2020 Hajj. Attendance was limited to Saudi citizens (including expatriate citizens). A COVID-19 test and a short quarantine were also required in advance of the pilgrimage. Read More
- Better digital infrastructure enabling more telework: Many Saudi white collar workers have been able to easily transition to remote working, a success the World Bank credits to the Vision 2030 plan, which focused on improving digital infrastructure. More than 90 percent of the population has access to 4G broadband, and online government services have been upgraded to support higher traffic volumes. Read More
Compared with Other Majority Muslim Countries
Per 1M 22,329
Indonesia scores relatively weakly, a big drop in the past few months, keyed by substantial weakening of travel restrictions, testing policy, and debt relief.
Per 1M 21,093
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.
Per 1M 410
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.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- 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
- 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