After months of making headlines because of its coronavirus response and all the success the country has had in the pandemic, New Zealand is poised to offer assistance to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.
In a press conference held in late November, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had put Biden in contact with national public health officials in an effort to share their knowledge and experience. New Zealand has seen remarkable success in combating the coronavirus pandemic, and it formulated one of the best responses of any country on Earth.
“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learned on our COVID-19 journey,” Ardern said, according to Forbes. The offer came during the first meeting between Biden and Ardern since the U.S. presidential election.
The Biden team hit repeated roadblocks in its attempts to formulate a pandemic plan due to President Trump’s refusal to begin the transition process. Continued issues in the transition process could hamper efforts to roll out a coronavirus vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
New Zealand’s coronavirus success story relied on strict nationwide lockdown measures. Its pandemic approach has been applauded by public health officials across the globe, and the lockdown measures have been described as instrumental in managing the country’s coronavirus outbreak. Trump has remained critical of these lockdowns, however. As noted by The Hill, Trump has said that lockdowns negatively impact daily life, as well as the economy. He has neglected to attend a single COVID-19 task force meeting for five months, according to Forbes.
Biden said he will “listen to the scientists” but has so far resisted calls for a national lockdown from public health officials.
More than 270,000 people have been killed by the coronavirus in the U.S., which has a population of 328 million. In New Zealand, there have been 2,100 cases and only 25 deaths in the country of 4.8 million.