STRINGENCY INDEX | Details you should know
GS Paper II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Context: The Stringency Index released by the Oxford University oversees how strict a country’s measures were, and at what stage of the pandemic spread these measures were enforced.
What you should know about Stringency index?
- The Stringency Index is basically a number ranging from 0 to 100 that reflects these indicators. Higher the score, greater will be the level of Stringency. It is among the metrics being used by the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.
- This Oxford COVID-19 Tracker involves a team of 100 Oxford community members who have continuously updated a database of 17 indicators of government response.
- These indicators examine containment policies such as school and workplace closings, public events, public transport, stay-at-home policies.
- As per the Stringency Index, India enforced one of the strongest lockdowns at an early phase of case growth. India indeed had one of the strongest lockdown measures in the world — at a 100 score since March 22.
- It was relaxed slightly on April 20 after the government eased norms for certain workplaces in regions outside the red zones.
- When compared to other countries with similar or higher case load, India called its strict lockdown at a much earlier point on its case and death curves.
- These 18 other countries had more than 500 cases when they called their strictest lockdown, while India had 320.
- Again, India had only four deaths on March 22, when its score reached 100, while most countries had more deaths at that point (except Switzerland; no deaths).
READ MORE | Global Report on Food Crisis 2020
What is the relation between the Death Curve and the Stringency Score?
Higher the score on the Stringency Index, lower is the number of deaths recorded by the countries across the world. Regarding this, Oxford provides an overlay of countries’ death curve and their stringency score.
- Some countries saw their deaths just begin to flatten as they reached their highest stringency, such as Italy, Spain, or France.
- In countries such as the UK, the US, and India, the Oxford graphs find that the death curve has not flattened after strictest measures were enforced.
- From the highest death count at their strongest measures, the countries compared were France, Italy, Iran, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, US, Turkey, Israel, China, India, and Switzerland.
Countries scoring 100 on the Index
These includes Honduras, Argentina, Jordan, Libya, Sri Lanka, Serbia, and Rwanda. India now has the highest number of cases in this set.
World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation regarding relaxation in Physical Distancing Measures?
The World Health Organization has issued 6 major recommendations regarding relaxation in the Physical Distancing Measures. These includes:
- First, that transmission is controlled;
- Second, that health system capacities are in place to detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact;
- Third, that outbreak risks are minimized in special settings like health facilities and nursing homes;
- Fourth, that preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools and other places where it’s essential for people to go;
- Fifth, that importation risks can be managed;
- Sixth, that communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjust to the “new norm”.
Countries who met these recommendations
The researchers examined if the countries meet four of the six World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations for relaxing physical distancing measures. These are:
- Control transmission to a level the healthcare system can manage;
- The healthcare system can detect and isolate all cases (not just serious ones);
- Manage transfer to and from high-risk transmission zones; and
- Community engagement.
India scored 0.7 (below Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea) because it scored 0 for controlling its cases. The highest scorers on this index, at 0.9, were Iceland, Hong Kong, Croatia, and Trinidad & Tobago. It was found that no countries meet the four measured recommendations, but 20 countries are really close to it.
READ MORE | UNICEF “LOST AT HOME” REPORT
Subscribe to our newsletter!
INDIATHINKERS is now on TELEGRAM as ExamGuideUpsc. Join our Channel to get the latest posts updates and other important quiz and pdf materials.