OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This series compiles data, analysis and recommendations on a range of topics to address the health, economic and societal crisis, facilitate co-ordination, and contribute to the necessary global action when confronting this enormous collective challenge. Bringing together policy responses spanning a large range of topics, from health to education and taxes, it provides guidance on the short-term measures in affected sectors and a specific focus on the vulnerable sectors of society and the economy. The content also aims to provide analysis on the longer-term consequences and impacts, steering the way towards a strong, resilient, green and inclusive recovery with co-ordinated policy responses across countries.

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Walking the tightrope: Avoiding a lockdown while containing the virus

Empirical work described in this policy brief explains the daily evolution of the reproduction rate, R, and mobility for a large sample of countries, in terms of containment and public health policies. This is with a view to providing insight into the appropriate policy stance as countries prepare for a potentially protracted period characterised by new infection waves. While a comprehensive package of containment measures may be necessary when the virus is widespread and can have a large effect on reducing R, they also have effect on mobility and, by extension, economic activity. A wide-ranging package of public health policies – with an emphasis on comprehensive testing, tracing and isolation, but also including mask-wearing and policies directed at vulnerable groups, especially those in care homes – offer the best approach to avoiding a full lockdown while containing the spread of the virus. Such policies may, however, need to be complemented by selective containment measures (such as restricting large public events and international travel or localised lockdowns) both to contain local outbreaks and because implementing some of the recommended public health policies may be difficult to achieve or have unacceptable social costs.


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