Coronavirus and government response conundrum in Africa: How effective are the stringency measures?
Reducing the spread of infections and deaths attributed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are a major concern of countries, particularly in Africa. This concern has led governments to institute several restrictive measures aimed at containing the COVID-19 crisis. Notwithstanding the restrictions, the number of cases and COVID-19 deaths continue to increase, raising questions regarding the effectiveness of the restrictions. In addition to determining the impact of the restrictions on COVID-19 deaths, this study examines how the restrictions influence the COVID-19 mortalities through its impact on the confirmed cases. By relying on daily data from 49 African countries, the study finds that higher restrictions measured by stringency index are associated with lower deaths. While the number of confirmed cases increase deaths, higher stringency index dampens the mortality-increasing effect of the confirmed cases. However, possible nonlinearities exist which suggest that the magnitude of reduced deaths is not the same for all countries. The study observes that while higher stringency index generally lowers death cases, its negative effect is huge for countries with stringency index above the threshold. Balancing the desire for economies to build–back better against the proliferation of COVID–19 are two conundrums African governments face.
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