75.8 Overall Score (up 16.1 since Aug 1st.)

Saudi Arabia

  • 72.4 Public Health
  • 23.6 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 72.4 Public Health
  • 23.6 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 Oct 1.)

Public Health Directives

Saudi Arabia has had relatively strong public health policy, excelling in almost every area except testing and emergency healthcare spending.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 3
  • School closings 3
  • Public event cancellations 2
  • Testing policy 3
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $4.02
  • Travel restrictions 4
  • Tests/1,000 people 186.5
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Saudi Arabia scored relatively weak due to non-existent stimulus and weak debt policy.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP -2.6%
  • 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 Oct 1

Saudi Arabia scores just below the median in this category, with a slightly higher positivity score offset by a low death rate, suggesting that its strong public health policies are helping to control the severity of cases.

  • Total deaths 4,768
  • Death rate per 100K 137
  • Total cases 334,605
  • Cases per 100K 9,611
  • Percent of positive tests 1.1
  • Change in positivity rates -2.2
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 65.64
2 May 31 Employees are allowed to return to work with minimal staff; domestic flights, rail, and public transit reopen; mosques and restaurants reopen 54.26
3 Jun 21 Curfew is fully lifted; domestic travel returns to normal levels 126.90
4 Aug 24 Land borders reopen to Saudi citizens and their non-Saudi family 36.67
5 Aug 30 Public sector employees return to work 30.94
6 Sep 15 Partially lift suspension of international flights for specific groups of people 19.13

Differentiating Factors

  • 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
  • 69
    Indonesia 287,008
    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.

  • 38.1
    Turkey 318,663
    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.

  • 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.

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