How New Zealand Is Beating the Coronavirus Pandemic

“The United States is a pandemic-policy mess, and the whole world is watching the meltdown,” Markos Kounalakis writes for the Washington Monthly. “How did such a small place [like New Zealand] take on such a big role on the world stage to lead the fight against the infection’s spread throughout its country?”

“Basically, there are two reasons: First, it had an almost airtight month-long lockdown during which only supermarkets and pharmacies remained open. Second, the population trusted its public leadership and complied with strict safety protocols,” Kounalakis writes. “As a result, on 7 June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand had ‘eliminated transmission of the virus.’

“New Zealand’s overall pandemic response and vigilance has kept the virus at bay for two-and-a-half months. It’s easy to credit its distant isolation and adherent society, but some focus on a special leadership characteristic: Women get the job done.

“A popular meme credits multiple nations led by women as being more effective in managing a nation in crisis. Prime Minister Ardern makes the list along with Germany, Taiwan, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Not a bad line-up of successful women leaders, especially when they are juxtaposed against more than a few presidents and prime ministers who have failed miserably in the age of the coronavirus.”

Kounalakis is McClatchy’s foreign affairs columnist, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the author of Spin Wars and Spy Games: Global Media and Intelligence. He is president and publisher emeritus of the Washington Monthly.

Original article by Markos Kounalakis, Washington Monthly, July 22, 2020.

Photo by New Zealand Government, Office of the Governor-General.

Tags: Jacinda Ardern  pandemic  Washington Monthly  

  • Pip Gunn - 6:22 pm on July 30th, 2020
    New Zealand in the middle of nowhere? Yes, but tiny little island - would you describe the United Kngdom as a tiny little island? I think not and yet they are the same size. Female leaders have acted decisively and there may well be repercussions as the world opens up again but there have been many lives saved in the interim.
  • Steve Gough - 12:57 pm on July 30th, 2020
    On a tiny little remote island in the middle of nowhere I too would expect that it was that easy. Stop patting people on the back because this thing is going to come back and bite you in the behind, you have not beaten it, you have just stalled the inevitable.
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