09:38 GMT24 September 2020
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    After New Zealand was hailed for its successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with no recorded cases for over three months, a cluster of virus infections confirmed last week in Auckland led to a lockdown that triggered Donald Trump to decry an out-of-control coronavirus "surge".

    Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, on has responded to US President Donald Trump's remarks about an allegedly out-of-control coronavirus "surge" in New Zealand.

    "Obviously, it's patently wrong," said Ardern.

    ​The aggravated prime minister went on to slam the exaggerated assessment of the COVID-19 situation in her country offered by Trump.

    "Anyone who is following will quite easily see that New Zealand's nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States' tens of thousands," stated Ardern.

    COVID-19 ‘Success Story’

    New Zealand, hailed as a global coronavirus success story after stamping out local transmission of the virus, had recently marked three months without any registered new cases of the respiratory infection.

    Jacinda Ardern had been lauded as the "anti-Trump", in a nod to the widespread criticism targeted at the US President for his perceived failings in tackling the health crisis.

    But the discovery of a cluster in Auckland last week forced the country's largest city back into a lockdown.
    Revised figures were released on 18 August, with New Zealand recording 13 new cases of coronavirus, as it ruled out the possibility the source of its new outbreak could be traced to frozen food items or freight.

    On Sunday Jacinda Ardern announced that the general election in the country had been moved to 17 October, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    With the additional 13 cases announced on Tuesday, there are now 90 active COVID-19 infections in the country, 69 of which are linked to the outbreak in Auckland.

    According to the government, twenty of the cases are people who entered the country from overseas and are now in hotel quarantine, reported Radio New Zealand.

    New Zealand's total number of coronavirus cases now stands at 1,643 with 22 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

     ‘Big Surge’

    The current incumbent of the White House, who is facing a presidential election in his own country in November, jumped at the opportunity to redirect the censure he has been fending off over his coronavirus response.

    Addressing critics, who accused him of downplaying the seriousness of the virus at an early stage and had held up New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic as an example, Trump said:

    "You see what is going on in New Zealand… They beat it; they beat it. It was like front page (news), they beat it because they wanted to show me something," said Trump.

    ​Citing a "big surge in New Zealand", Trump added: "It's terrible. We don't want that."

    Earlier, President Trump has also floated the idea of postposing the elections in his nation because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prospect of mail-in voting.

    Trump claimed the counting of mailed ballots could hamper the reporting of final results for weeks and opened up the possibility of election fraud.

    Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the proposed delay, while election experts underscored that the president lacked the legal power to change the date of the election.

    The United States, the hardest-hit nation in the world, currently has over five million coronavirus cases, with a death toll at over 170,000.

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    Tags:
    New Zealand, COVID-19, coronavirus, Donald Trump, Jacinda Ardern
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