Prime Minister of New Zealand Answers back to Trump’s Comments
On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern answered back against U.S. President Donald Trump for saying her country is going through a “big surge” in COVID-19. She called the remarks “patently wrong.”
Trump ignited some heat in New Zealand. This happened when he told a crowd in Minnesota that the South Pacific country of 5 million people was in the grip of a “terrible” upsurge in COVID-19 cases, after succeeding in eliminating the disease.
Thirteen new infections were reported in New Zealand on Tuesday. This made the country’s total number of cases since the pandemic started to 1,293, with a total of 22 fatalities. This compares with the U.S. total of over 5.2 million cases and 170,000 deaths.
The Comparison Game
“You see what’s going on in New Zealand?” Trump said.
“They beat it, they beat it, it was like front page they beat it … because they wanted to show me something.”
“The problem is … big surge in New Zealand, you know it’s terrible. We don’t want that.”
Ardern pointed out and said that there was no comparison between New Zealand’s handful of new cases a day and the “tens of thousands” registered in the United States.
Arden also said that “I think anyone who’s following COVID and its transmission globally will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands, and in fact does not compare to most countries in the world.”
She answered to Trump’s comments by saying, “Obviously it’s patently wrong.”
She claimed that her country is still one of the best-performing countries in the world in handling the COVID-19 outbreak. She also stated that her country’s workers will continue to do their work in keeping it that way.
New Zealand’s death rate per 100,000 people, at about 0.44, is one of the lowest in the world. The credit for this can be given to strict lockdowns enforced in the early stages of the outbreak. The United States has a death rate of 5.21 per 100,000, one of the highest in the world.
Unknown Origin of Resurgence
New Zealand has performed far better than most of the countries during the pandemic. However, an abrupt resurgence of COVID-19 last week in Auckland forced the government to extend a lockdown for the city’s 1.7 million residents until the 26th of August. Social distancing rules are enforced in other towns and cities.
The origin of the latest outbreak is still a mystery; however, authorities earlier on Tuesday speculated the possibility that it came from frozen food items or freight.
“Seems clear now that the possibility is being ruled out from that investigation,” according to Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield.
Earlier this month, New Zealanders celebrated when the country crossed the 100 days mark without any community transmission. With an election due in mid-October, Ardern is keen to remind voters of her government’s track record on combating with the virus.
“Every other single country in the world has experienced resurgence. We went longer than many, our outbreak is certainly not as significant as what we are seeing in Vietnam, in Hong Kong, in South Korea or in Australia,” she told state broadcaster TVNZ.