A Data Snapshot on recent COVID-19 government measures and civil unrests


The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restriction measures have come with civil unrest and political instability. The new year seems to see a resurgence of this with civil unrest events from Canada to New Zealand making recent headlines due to mass protests against vaccine mandates.

COVID-19 related civil unrest is one of several ‘social factor’ indicators regularly tracked by the RCCE Collective Service Behavioural Dashboard. The COVID-19 Behaviour Change Framework defines this indicator as “all events directly linked to the pandemic” to include “recorded protests against government measures made in response to COVID-19, demonstration of conspiracy beliefs, violent attacks linked to COVID-19 transmission (including violence against healthcare workers responding to the coronavirus).”


Civil Unrest vs. Stringency

A quick snapshot of Collective Service global dashboard data confirms that the number of COVID-19 related civil unrest events is on the rise, despite a stringency index that is globally low. The stringency index reflects the level of restrictions put in place in each country (mask policy, stay-at-home requirements, travel restrictions, public events…)

COVID-19-related Civil Unrest Events vs. Stringency Index

A regional analysis indicates that civil unrest is more prominent in Europe and the Americas, and, to a lesser extent, Asia. For example, the top 5 countries accounting for over 75% of events in January 2022 were Germany, France, the United States, Italy and Canada.

COVID-19 Civil Unrest Events by Region

Civil Unrest since January 2020
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Persons interested in exploring country-level data further can use the RCCE COVID-19 Country Dashboard

For additional insights, please visit the Institute for Economics & Peace’s Global Peace Index 2021 (re: ‘The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Peace’).