New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern hit back at the U.S. Tuesday. President Donald Trump said in COVID-19 that his country is experiencing a “major boom,” calling the remarks “patently false.” Trump caused outrage in New Zealand when he told a audience in Minnesota that the 5-million-strong South Pacific nation was in the midst of a “terrible” upsurge in COVID-19 outbreaks, having previously managed to eradicate the disease.
During the pandemic, New Zealand fared far better than most countries, but last week’s abrupt resurgence of COVID-19 in Auckland prompted the government to extend a lockdown to 1.7 million residents of the city until 26 August, while social distancing rules are in place in other cities and towns. The origin of the current outbreak is still unclear but officials ruled out the possibility of it originating from frozen food products or freight earlier on Tuesday.
New Zealanders celebrated 100 days before this month when the nation passed without any collective transmission. With an election due mid-October, Ardern is keen to remind voters of the track record of fighting the virus on the part of her government. “Every other single country in the world has experienced resurgence. We went longer than many, our outbreak is certainly not as significant as what we are seeing in Vietnam, in Hong Kong, in South Korea or in Australia,” she told state broadcaster TVNZ.