From business closures to movement restrictions, some countries’ policies show first signs of easing

Help the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford university improve the stringency index used in this map by providing direct feedback.
Since January more than 140 countries have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by implementing often sweeping policies aimed at containing the virus by limiting movement and encouraging social distancing. As economies ground to a near halt, they added stimulus packages to soften the economic impact.
East Asian countries including South Korea and Vietnam were the first to follow China in implementing widespread containment measures, with much of Europe, North America and Africa taking longer to bring in tough restrictions. In the US, individual states have imposed a patchwork of lockdown policies.
After two months, China has eased travel restrictions in Hubei province, the origin of the pandemic. Austria has already reopened stories, while Denmark has sent children back to school. Other European countries including France, Germany, Spain and Italy have now laid out plans for how they intend to gradually come out of lockdown over the coming months. The UK, which locked down later, has said the epidemic has passed its peak but has yet to put forward its deconfinement plans.
At the same time, governments are wary of a resurgence of the virus once people are allowed to interact more freely, which could lead to a second wave of infections. Testing, tracing and enforcement regimes are being developed, but comprehensive regimes have yet to be put in place in most countries.
Stringency index: how it works
Every countrys lockdown is different. The wide range of measures adopted by different governments poses a challenge to analysts who want to compare these policies over time or between countries.
To enable such comparisons, a team at Oxford universitys Blavatnik School of Government is maintaining a database of pandemic-response policies and using it to derive an index of the measures overall stringency.
More than 100 volunteer academics and students collate publicly-available information on government responses measures, across nine policy areas. These are assigned stringency ratings which are then used to derive a composite score between 0 and 100. Most other efforts to track the pandemic response take the form of lists of events without attempting to create comparable measures across countries.
The Oxford team is not currently collecting any sub-national data, meaning that the index does not perfectly capture local measures in large or federal countries, including the US. A measure only in force in one or two regions contributes less to the stringency index than a nationwide policy, but rules in force in only one or two regions can also inflate a whole countrys overall score.
Reporting, data analysis and graphics by Steven Bernard, David Blood, Max Harlow, Caroline Nevitt, Ændrew Rininsland, Alan Smith, Martin Stabe and Aleksandra Wisniewska.