As Jacinda Ardern lifts coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand, it’s clear that Boris Johnson and the macho populists across the world should have taken a few tips from women leaders.
The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that her nation is now virus-free and all Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted.
Ardern locked down quickly in NZ and, on the same day she was able to celebrate that major victory of her strong, pragmatic approach, the UK official death toll surpassed 40,000 and the Government had to U-turn on when schools would be able to reopen, causing confusion and concern for millions of families up and down the country.
In Brazil, meanwhile, confirmed Covid-19 cases have reached over 800,000. But, under the direct orders of populist President Jair Bolsanaro, the country has now stopped releasing its number of cases and has deleted all data from official government websites.
In contrast, Angela Merkel’s scientific background has enabled her to logically explain Germany’s pragmatic strategy. Her government published all its recorded deaths, including those in care homes far earlier than most countries, and it was this data, coupled with Germany’s impressive track and trace system that has proved instrumental in the country’s ability to maintain a low mortality rate.
Sanna Marin, Mette Frederisken and Erna Solberg, the female prime ministers of Finland, Denmark and Norway respectively, all decided to implement lockdowns relatively early and life in these Nordic countries is now returning to normal.
Across the pond, tragic Trump is planning election rallies and demanding lockdowns are lifted — despite the death rate being the highest in the world (over 111,000) and decreasing more slowly than he descends a ramp.
The pragmatic approaches taken by many female leaders across the world stands in stark contrast to the arrogant, haphazard approach taken by Johnson here and his populist counterparts in Trump and Bolsanaro who have all overseen avoidably high death rates.
From the outset, Ardern did not downplay the gravity of the situation and implemented a strict lockdown even when the infection rate was low.
Like Ardern, Merkel too insisted that Covid was a challenge to Germany “that has demanded such a degree of common and united action”.
In contrast, male populist leaders shrugged off medical and scientific advice and locked down too late. The UK Government claimed to be following the science, but seems to have put spin and public relations management ahead of public health.
We have the worst Covid death rate in Europe. Older and disabled people have been put at risk by a lack of preparation in the care sector, coupled with hospital patients being discharged in to care homes before crucial testing procedures were in place.
Many hospital staff and key workers did not receive adequate personal protective equipment. The introduction of track and trace has been sloppy at best – the only thing ‘world class’ about it has been its ineptness.
Ardern confessed that she ‘did a little dance’ to celebrate New Zealand becoming Covid-free. Here in the UK, we have little to celebrate.
Johnson and his macho populists should have taken a few tips from female leaders across the world. Sadly, his government’s aloofness and unwillingness to listen has costs tens of thousands of lives.