The British government’s haphazard approach to quarantining travelers won’t make up for its failed domestic coronavirus containment efforts.
- 34.8 Public Health
- 55.9 Financial
- 68 Fact-Based
The U.K. scored near the median for overall policy, due to a relatively strong financial policy, although its weak initial lockdown hurt its score; the new strain is causing a huge uptick in cases, resulting in stricter lockdowns.
The U.K. has a low number of hospital beds, balanced out by a relatively low degree of inequality, and it scores slightly above the median in most other categories.
- Debt/GDP ratio 86.8%
- GDP/capita $48,169
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 34.8
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 4
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 84.6
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 19.7
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Mar 15.)
Public Health Directives
The UK's public health score increased notably since January, with the government increasing restrictions on public gatherings and increasing emergency public healthcare spending in a push to contain COVID-19 variants.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 2
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 2
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $151.72
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 1538.2
- Contact tracing 1
The UK’s financial response, while initiatially strong, has been waning since January, despite the uptick in cases.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 3.4%
- Income support 2
- Debt forebearance 2
The British government both downplayed the risk of COVID-19, and has, in some instances, limited media access to information in response to COVID-19, resulting in its poor score.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 1
- Press freedom 1
COVID-19 Status as of Mar 15
The UK’s struggle to contain the virus has been further hampered by new variants, although its extensive lockdowns have helped, resulting in its very strong score.
- Total deaths 5,836
- Death rate per 100K 86
- Total cases 4,276,840
- Cases per 100K 145
- Percent of positive tests 0.4
- Change in positivity rates -10.4
|1||May 13||Manufacturing and construction workers are encouraged to go back to work||48.61|
|2||Jun 01||Some schools, outdoor markets, and car showrooms reopen||21.27|
|3||Jun 08||Dentist 's offices reopen||16.12|
|4||Jun 15||All other non-essential retail reopens||15.19|
|5||Jul 04||Hospitality, personal care service industries, and public places reopen||9.21|
|6||Sep 24||Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues must close by 10pm||97.87|
|7||Oct 12||Introduce a localized 3 tier system for restrictions, based on severity of situation||206.39|
|8||Nov 05||Country-wide lockdown||355.95|
|9||Jan 04||Imposed lockdown, shutting schools and ordering the public to stay at home, except for essential supplies or exercise, all schools will close; all restaurants, bars, and non-essential shops must close, except for takeaway food; alcohol sales are banned||867.97|
|10||Mar 08||Reopened schools and allowed recreation in outdoor public spaces.||71.05|
- U.K. variant most deadly: A new peer-reviewed study has found that the B.1.1.7 variant is associated with a 64 percent higher risk of death than previously circulating variants. Combined with its high transmissibility, this makes the U.K. variant a significant global threat. Read More
- One-third of population receives first dose: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on March 8th that more than one-third of British residents have received their first vaccination dose. The government aims to offer the vaccine to all adults by the end of July 2021. Read More
- Vaccines reduce hospitalizations and deaths: A preliminary study of the U.K. vaccination effort has found that a single dose of either the Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines reduced the risk of hospitalization among people over 70 years old by 80 percent, compared with those who had not been vaccinated. Read More
- U.K. enters third lockdown: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new national lockdown in early January, in an attempt to combat the rapid spread of a new, highly transmissible virus variant. Read More
- British government accused of cronyism in pandemic response: A New York Times investigation found that Britain's COVID-19 response has led to waste, negligence, and corruption, as politically connected companies earned billions despite lack of medical experience. The paper found that around half the money spent on the pandemic response has gone to friends and associates of Conservative Party politicians. Read More
- Lockdown measures reimposed, cases rise: As cases begin to rise in the U.K. once more, PM Johnson has issued a policy to close pubs and restaurants by 10 p.m. Public health experts have criticized the efficacy of Johnson's policy as demand has overwhelmed testing capacity, and private companies have been unable to respond to growing case numbers. Read More
- Decentralized healthcare created confusion: The U.K. healthcare system is devolved, meaning that authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are free to make their own decisions regardless of the directives emanating from Westminster. This has led to confusion and conflict between prominent politicians, particularly relating to economic re-opening and social distancing measures. Read More
Compared with Other Small Island Nations
100New Zealand 2,432
Per 1M 3
New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly with regard to its reliance on science and facts and its relatively strong financial response.
Per 1M 3
Iceland has a very strong score, owing heavily to its reliance on facts as well as generous debt and income support; its large improvement since January was keyed by significant improvements in public health policy and financial support.
Per 1M 2
Taiwan has a relatively strong policy score, but its minimal stimulus and weak debt relief bring it down. However, the data does not accurately measure its advanced contact tracing, which may have diminished the need for more restrictions; this likely results in a score that underestimates Taiwan’s response.
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