Oxford University launches global corona policy tracker

By on 05/04/2020 | Updated on 24/09/2020
The Blavatnik School of Government: staff and students are currently tracking the corona responses of 104 countries including China, South Korea, Italy, the UK and the US. (Photo by Martin Cooper via flickr).

The University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government has created a tool that tracks and compares government policy responses to the coronavirus crisis worldwide.   

The aim of the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) is to help researchers, decision-makers and citizens explore how governments are responding to the crisis, understand the factors behind different policy decisions, and gauge the value of lockdowns in slowing the virus’s spread. It currently includes data on 104 countries including China, South Korea, Italy, the UK and the US.

The tracker, which is free to use, systematically records government responses worldwide and aggregates the scores into a common ‘stringency index’. It collects publicly available information on 11 indicators including school and workplace closures, movement restrictions and international travel controls, fiscal measures, emergency investment in healthcare including vaccines, and public information campaigns.

“Our index cannot, of course, tell the full story, but we believe the data we have collected can help decision makers and public health professionals examine the robustness of government responses and provide a first step into understanding exactly what measures have been effective in certain contexts and why,” said Thomas Hale, associate professor of global public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, who is the lead for the project.

Anna Petherick, departmental lecturer in public policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, told Digital Health News: “Over time, we hope the tool will be helpful in making sense of which policies are more effective than others in stemming the rise of new cases.

“One area that we’re thinking about behind the scenes is how to combine our data about the public policies that are being put in place around the world with additional sources of information that indicate the extent to which people are actually abiding by the new policies. This is one area where tech data could prove really useful.”

The Blavatnik School of Government pointed out that responses vary significantly from country to country, and that the effect of policy interventions is contingent on local political and social context. As a result, the tool should not be interpreted as measuring the appropriateness or effectiveness of a country’s response but rather offers “a way for countries to compare responses and learn from one another”, it said.  

About Mia Hunt

Mia is a journalist and editor with a background in covering commercial property, having been market reports and supplements editor at trade title Property Week and deputy editor of Shopping Centre magazine, now known as Retail Destination. She has also undertaken freelance work for several publications including the preview magazine of international trade show, MAPIC, and TES Global (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) and has produced a white paper on energy efficiency in business for E.ON. Between 2014 and 2016, she was a member of the Revo Customer Experience Committee and an ACE Awards judge. Mia graduated from Kingston University with a first-class degree in journalism and was part of the team that produced The River newspaper, which won Publication of the Year at the Guardian Student Media Awards in 2010.

One Comment

  1. philly adams says:

    This work is much needed. Thank you.

    Please could I be kept in your information loop about any new findings.
    I work for the NHS in workforce and have a public health degree.

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