New Zealand offers Biden tips on COVID-19 after successful response
New Zealand’s prime minister said she has offered to help President-elect Joe Biden manage his response to the coronavirus pandemic once he is inaugurated.
“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our COVID-19 journey,” Jacinda Ardern said on Monday, according to Reuters.
New Zealand has garnered international praise for its response to the pandemic, with fewer than 100 current cases reported in the country as of this week. Ardern implemented strict nationwide lockdown measures twice this year, a decision public health experts credit with being instrumental to slowing the spread of the virus.
President Trump, however, has been critical of lockdown measures, warning they harm other aspects of public life such as the economy and mental health.
Biden has resisted calls from public health officials in the U.S. to implement a national lockdown, instead insisting he would “listen to the scientists” in attempting to get the virus under control.
Members of the Biden transition team have warned that a refusal by Trump to concede the election and begin coordination on coronavirus response could have deadly consequences.
“If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind,” Biden said earlier this month. “More people may die if we don’t coordinate.”
New Zealand, a country of 4.8 million people, has reported fewer than 2,100 cases of coronavirus this year with only 25 deaths. The United States, with a population of more than 300 million, has reported more than 12.3 million cases and more than 250,000 Americans have died.