News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. May 4, 2020: The first ever response tracker tool created by the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government on the preparedness of countries to lift physical distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, shows three Caribbean countries ranking in the top 10 list of nations globally.

The new tracker records and compares governmental measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic worldwide. The four measures the University used to rank countries globally were control of virus transmission; testing, tracing and isolation policies; management of risk of exporting and importing cases and community engagement.

The three countries ranking high globally from the Caribbean region are Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Barbados.

The Republic of T&T came second on the list and just behind Vietnam.

In fifth place globally and second place regionally is Belize, which ranked just below South Korea. In 10th place globally and third regionally is Barbados, which ranked behind Jordan and just about Mauritius.

All three Caribbean countries have not reported new cases in at least a week. Trinidad and Tobago has recorded 116 confirmed coronavirus cases and 8 deaths while Belize reported 18 cases and 2 deaths and Barbados 80 confirmed cases and 7 deaths.  

The United States, by the way, is way down the ranks at about 53rd globally, and just above Guyana.

The data was collected from publicly available information by a cross-disciplinary Oxford University team of academics and students from every part of the world.

Thomas Hale, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and lead for this project, said, “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.”

While the ranking bodes well for the three Caribbean countries, researchers pointed out that “because the data only measure four of six recommended actions, we should be cautious about inferring what countries are ready to roll back lockdown from this measure.”

They stressed that “the WHO recommendations are more specific and extensive than cross-national measures like OxCGRT can readily provide. The checklist below should therefore be seen as a starting point for assessing a country’s preparedness for leaving lockdown. In particular, we note that the OxCGRT data measure countries’ stated policies, not how well they implement them.”

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