Friday, April 24, 2020

Vanquish the Virus? Australia and New Zealand Aim to Show the Way

The two countries, led by ideological opposites, are converging on an extraordinary goal: eliminating the virus. Their nonpolitical approach is restoring trust in democracy.

Australian officials closed Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach on March 21.Credit...Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

By Damien Cave

SYDNEY, Australia — Thousands of miles from President Trump’s combative news briefings, a conservative leader in Australia and a progressive prime minister in New Zealand are steadily guiding their countries toward a rapid suppression of the coronavirus outbreak.

Both nations are now reporting just a handful of new infections each day, down from hundreds in March, and they are converging toward an extraordinary goal: completely eliminating the virus from their island nations.

Whether they get to zero or not, what Australia and New Zealand have already accomplished is a remarkable cause for hope. Scott Morrison of Australia, a conservative Christian, and Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s darling of the left, are both succeeding with throwback democracy — in which partisanship recedes, experts lead, and quiet coordination matters more than firing up the base.  Read more >>