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Covid-19 Government Response Tracker

by Khairul Omar for Young Digital Leaders

OxCGRT Stringency Index a benchmarking tool

University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government is currently the leading authority in tracking government responses from around the world in handling Covid-19 crisis under its Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) data repository. Based on a set of responsive measures imposed by each government, OxCGRT generates a stringency index as a measure to rank countries on how strict government policies are, which is updated daily.

YDL aims to provide a daily update of these benchmarking tables for which analysts and decision makers could refer in assessing how Malaysian government strategies compare with other countries on a continuous basis.

When analysing the stringency index between countries, it is best to interpret the ranking together with the breakdown of government policies, as a given country with a higher or lower stringency index than another country may not necessarily be better or worse if the underlying circumstances are not directly comparable, plus other factors that may not be explicitly indicated in this report.

Timeline of Government Responses by Country

In this section, we present the timeline of testing figures and how each of the government response indicators has changed over the past 70 days by examining one country at a time. The impact of these government responses can then be analysed by referencing the trend in the number confirmed positive cases and deaths, and benchmarked against the situation in Malaysia.

Timeline of Government Responses by Category

In this section, we present the timeline of how each of the government response indicators has changed over the past 70 days by analysing each indicator at a time. This can be used to identify best practices for each category from other countries that can be learned and adopted in tackling this global crisis.

Remarks on Methodology and Data Sources

The stringency index is calculated based on nine indicators: school closure, workplace closure, public events cancellation, gathering restrictions, public transport closure, stay-at-home requirements, internal movement restrictions and immigration restrictions. The ninth indicator is public information campaign, which is included in the stringency index calculation but not shown in our charts since this is a universal practice in all countries to date. In addition, while not part of the index calculation method, we also report on two additional key indicators: contact tracing policy and testing policy which are critical in combatting the pandemic even after a lockdown is eased.

Each government response indicator has a maximum raw score of either 2, 3 or 4 depending on the category, as defined in OxCGRT documentation. In our report, we have restated these raw scores to a normalized format between a minimum of 0 (policy not imposed) and 1 (strictest policy) so that different categories of government policies can be directly compared on the same scale.

Note that OxCGRT revised the calculation method for its stringency index on 29 April 2020, which is based on the nine indicators above, for which our report here is based on. Please exercise caution when referencing other publications based on OxCGRT found elsewhere that were published prior to this date, as they may be using the former calculation method that may not comparable today. At YDL, all indices and data prior to this date have been updated to reflect the latest definition so that they are comparable across all dates.

Data for the number of confirmed cases and deaths in the following sections is obtained from John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre while the number of tests performed is sourced from Our World in Data, a collaboration between University of Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab. For countries that do not publish their cumulative testing data on a daily basis, the number of daily tests between two non-consecutive dates where data is available are shown to be spread equally across this period.