78 Overall Score (up 18.3 since Aug 1st.)

Saudi Arabia

  • 75.8 Public Health
  • 41.5 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 75.8 Public Health
  • 41.5 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.

Pre-COVID Conditions

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 Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)

Public Health Directives

Saudi Arabia has had 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 413.8
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

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 5.7%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 1

Fact-Based Communication

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 Mar 15

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 367
  • Death rate per 100K 10.5
  • Total cases 382,752
  • Cases per 100K 6
  • Percent of positive tests 0.8
  • Change in positivity rates +0.4
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown Level 3 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 28 Domestic movement is allowed, retail and malls reopen 47.22
2 May 31 Employees are allowed to return to work with minimal staff; domestic flights, rail, and public transit reopen; mosques and restaurants reopen 53.92
3 Jun 21 Curfew is fully lifted; domestic travel returns to normal levels 97.06
4 Aug 24 Land borders reopen to Saudi citizens and their non-Saudi family 33.75
5 Aug 30 Public sector employees return to work 26.14
6 Sep 15 Partially lift suspension of international flights for specific groups of people 19.30
7 Oct 04 Umrah pilgrimage allowed for nationals and residents at 30 percent capacity 11.20
8 Oct 18 Umrah pilgrimage up to 75 percent capacity 10.00
9 Nov 01 Umrah resumes for foreign pilgrims age 18-50 10.74
10 Dec 27 Shut down border and international flights for two weeks to prevent spread of new virus strain 4.42
11 Jan 03 Re-opened borders and resume international flights 2.36
12 Jan 29 Extended international travel restrictions to May 17th, due to delay in vaccine supply 7.67

Differentiating Factors

  • Cases rise in Saudi Arabia: Cases are rising in Saudi Arabia, leading to the Ministry of Health to renew its calls for citizens to register for vaccines. Read More
  • Government offers incentives for people to be vaccinated: The Ministry of Commerce is allowing e-stores, markets, malls, and shops for commodities and services to provide special discounts to customers who have received a vaccine, in an effort to protect society and encourage immunization. Read More
  • Government expands national vaccination campaign: The Ministry of Health is expanding access to vaccines to larger segments of the population by launching more vaccination centers in all regions and providing vaccines in pharmacies for free. Over 100 vaccine centers have opened around the country since the country launched its vaccination campaign in December 2020. Read More
  • Saudi Arabia lifts restrictions: Despite rising case numbers, Saudi Arabia lifted restrictions, allowing indoor dining, gyms, and barbershops to re-open. 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
  • 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
Compared with Other Majority Muslim Countries
  • 38.3
    Indonesia 1,425,044
    Per 1M

    Indonesia scores relatively weakly, a big drop in the past few months, keyed by substantial weakening of travel restrictions, testing policy, and debt relief.

  • 14.6
    Turkey 2,894,893
    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.

  • 97.2
    Senegal 36,996
    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.

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