Israel Leads World in Lockdown Time

People walk on Jaffa Street in downtown Yerushalayim on January 28, 2021, during a 3rd nationwide full lockdown. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

As Israel appears poised to extend its third nationwide lockdown for a second time, a data project led by University of Oxford researchers ranked Israel as the world leader in the amount of time spent in coronavirus lockdowns.

The Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) project gave Israel a score of 86.28 out of a possible 100 in the robustness of its overall response to the pandemic. Cyprus came in second with 84.49.

The score is based on school closures, workplace closures, cancellation of public events, restrictions of public gatherings, closures of public transportation, stay-at-home requirements, public information campaigns, restrictions on internal movements, international travel controls, testing policy, the extent of contact tracing, requirements to wear face coverings, and policies pertaining to vaccine rollout.

Israeli Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen complained on Thursday that the country has been in lockdown for 139 days since the outbreak in March, more than any other country. By comparison, Germany’s lockdowns have totaled 88 days, the U.K. 79 days and Spain 67 days, despite all having been hit hard by the coronavirus.

Despite exceptional efforts, Israel continues to struggle with one of the highest ratios of infections per capita, with over 71,303 confirmed cases per million. By comparison, the U.S. has reported 76,874 cases per million people, and the U.K. has reported 54,880.

On the other hand, Israel’s fatality rate – the number of deaths compared with the number of those infected – is significantly lower than in many other countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.