How Australia and New Zealand beat the coronavirus. At the moment



Very few cases of new infections after a month and a half of closings but a very different conduct of the two leaders

by Angela Manganaro

Surfers on Bondi Beach, Sidney, Australia

4 ‘of reading

Similar approaches but different stories, profoundly different leadership, a factor that counts in a pandemic: the global health scourge is demonstrating how everything in a country, primarily life and death but also work and family care, depend on decisions policies. With similar and ruling approaches to the antipodes, New Zealand and Australia can say they have tamed the coronavirus, at least for now.

Both countries are a spot in favor of the lockdown that worked but this alone is not enough to explain the success or the bold photo of a group of surfers close to each other, ready to dive back into the water (Bondi beach, the Sidney’s symbol beach has been reopened). The result is even more interesting because it intersects with the season factor, in those parts autumn is about to end, in June it will be winter but the climate remains mild all year round. And seasonality now seems an important variable to understand the trend of the Covid pandemic19.

In both countries, the fact of having endless spaces for few inhabitants, an ideal condition for social distancing, contributed to the success. The two governments now announce reopenings but nobody seems to want to let down their guard: Australia that has decided a partial lockdown and now boasts a rate of new infections below 1% (at the end of March it was 25%) has announced that it wants to strengthen tests with the purchase of 10 million kits: tampons are considered the key measure to contain the spread of the virus and allow people to regain some freedom of movement.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has imposed a very rigid lockdown since mid-March, has closed everything including companies, but the goal from the beginning was not to mitigate the coronavirus but to eliminate it. On April 28 he recorded 3 new cases for a total of 1472 infections: 1,214 recovered, 19 died. “We can confidently say that there is no more transmission of the infection in our community, now the challenge is to maintain this result” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as non-essential school and health services and takeaway food premises reopen in the country but, at the same time, New Zealanders are getting ready to stay home and go out only to work, shop or exercise.

New Zealand and Australia have had similar effects and approaches but the difference in leadership has been evident» says Fausto Labruto, Italian radiologist, associate professor of radiology, manager of a teleradiology company. Dr. Labruto has been in Australia for five years, lives in Noosa in Queensland with his New Zealand wife Julie. In New Zealand the lockdown was done on time and seriously. The main merit goes to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has focused on serious and effective communication also thanks to the help of specialists in economics, ecology, epidemiology, and on good example (for example, cutting one’s salary). It is now much more popular than it was before the pandemic. Applause should also be made to the opposition, which has chosen to support the prime minister without reservation. In Australia – Labruto continues – unfortunately the story is different. There has been a lockdown, but the prime minister, Scott Morrison has never used effective communication and people were and are very confused about the rules in force. In this sense, the prime minister has been disadvantaged by the fact that Australia is a federal republic and each state has applied its own agenda, creating differences between state and state. In addition, the prime minister had just undergone the huge drop in popularity for fire management in December and January (he went on vacation to Hawaii during a critical week, he denied any link between the fires and climate change ed)».


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