Developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Index for Risk Management (INFORM) Global Risk Index (GRI) is a widely recognized and valuable tool for multi-hazard risk assessment that identifies countries at risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster. A prototype version of the hazard-dependent INFORM GRI, the INFORM Epidemic Risk Index, was developed under the JRC’s technical lead in close collaboration with the World Health Organization, in order to assess the risk of countries to epidemic outbreak that would exceed the national capacity to respond to the crisis. The INFORM Epidemic Risk Index has been adapted to reflect better the COVID-19 pandemic.


The INFORM Epidemic Risk Index is based on the traditional “epidemiologic triad” (i.e. an external agent, a susceptible host, and an environment that brings agent and host together), and covers four groups of infectious diseases: (a) zoonoses (i.e. naturally transmitted between animals and humans), (b) vector-borne (e.g. transmitted by biting insects), (c) person-to-person, and (d) food- and water-borne. Since the COVID-19 pandemic is dominated by human-to-human transmission, the “hazard and exposure” risk dimension of the INFORM Epidemic Risk Index was narrowed down to just the person-to-person (P2P) component. The adapted index is called the INFORM Epidemic P2P Risk Index.

An experimental implementation of the adapted index - the INFORM COVID-19 Risk Index - aims to identify countries at risk from health and humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 that could overwhelm current national response capacity, and lead to a need for additional international assistance. The new index can support prioritization of preparedness and early response actions for the primary impacts of the pandemic, and identify countries where secondary impacts are likely to have the most critical humanitarian consequences. The primary scope of the index is for global and regional risk-informed resource allocation, where a comparable understanding of countries’ risk is important. It is not designed to predict the impacts of the pandemic in individual countries.

This news item is based on a report on the European Commission’s Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) web-site, on 23 April 2020 (see web-links below).

Niall McCormick

European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

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Wednesday, 20. May 2020