Is Britain’s lockdown the toughest in the world?

Britons are living under the sixth strictest lockdown in the world – and the second harshest in Europe – according to an analysis by the University of Oxford.

Researchers have ranked the pandemic responses of 180 countries on a ‘stringency map’ by looking at how Covid restrictions have affected schools, offices, social gatherings, international travel and freedom to leave home, reports the Daily Mail UK.

Each country was scored on a scale of one to 100, with a higher figure indicating the most severe virus-controlling curbs. The numbers represented an average since the start of the pandemic.

The team put Britain’s Covid restrictions at 86.11 out of 100 by February 17, using the latest available data. Britain’s lockdown was ranked harsher than France (63.89) and the US (68.06), and stricter than Germany’s (83.33).

The analysis comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new lockdown exit strategy. This strategy can see England resuming normal operations during June. The PM’s plan for easing restrictions will be split into four separate steps and will see the country treated as a whole, with no return to a tier system.

Under the first stage, schools in England will reopen from March 8 — though the next stage of loosening won’t be until March 29, when the formal Stay at Home edict is finally dropped. Shops, hairdressers and pubs must remain closed until April 12 at the earliest and international travel is completely off the cards until at least May 17.

Only on June 21 will all legal limits on social contact go, and the remaining elements of the hospitality sector be allowed to open. The Prime Minister stressed that he is being driven by ‘data not dates’ and the timeline is not guaranteed.

The UK is in total lockdown with people only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping, medical visits or work that can’t be done from home. International travel and socialising in person are banned, and most shops are closed.