New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern referenced Ireland when talking about her own country's progress in reopening after coronavirus shutdowns.
Speaking on The AM Show in New Zealand about her country’s plans to reopen, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “I think the majority of New Zealanders do want us to be cautious because we want to do it once and do it right.
"The worst thing we could do is move prematurely and move between levels so people yoyo in and out of work for a prolonged period of time. That would be disastrous.
“The great position we are in is that we can move through the stages in relatively short amounts of time if we get it right. I was just looking at Ireland. Their stepping down is taking them through July before some people are back in work.
"Because we’ve actually managed to contain as we have, if we do it right, we’ll be back in quick step in getting the economy moving again whereas others are taking a very long time.”
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern: “I was just looking at Ireland. Their stepping down is taking them through July before some people are back in work. Because we’ve been able to contain as we have, if we do it right, we’ll be back in quick step in getting the economy moving again.” pic.twitter.com/hrolRjUaDf— Fintan Walsh (@FintanYTWalsh) May 4, 2020
You can watch Prime Minister Ardern’s entire interview on The AM Show here:
#WATCH - Duncan and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern clash
#WATCH - This morning Duncan and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern clashed over the decision to stay at lockdown level three.Publiée par The AM Show sur Dimanche 3 mai 2020
New Zealand has been able to maintain relatively low levels of coronavirus infections and deaths since the worldwide outbreak. As of May 5, New Zealand had just over 1,400 confirmed cases and 20 coronavirus-related deaths, while, contrast, the Republic of Ireland has just over 21,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,300 deaths as of early in the day on May 5.
Prime Minister Ardern’s reference to Ireland comes just a few days after the Irish government unveiled its roadmap for reopening the country. While some measures begin to be relaxed from today, May 5, Ireland is using a five-phase approach to reopening with the final phase, ideally, beginning on August 10.
Responding to Prime Minister Ardern’s reference to Ireland, Health Minister Simon Harris told TheJournal: “It’s obviously her job to protect people in New Zealand and to run New Zealand’s response. It is our job to run Ireland’s response. The situation in every country is very different. And there is no readymade plan that you can just pick up from one country and transpose to another.
“And I think Prime Minister Ardern seems to have done a very good job in New Zealand. But we also know that this is a virus that travels around the world and we don’t yet know when the story of this virus is going to end.
“I think it’s too premature for any country to believe it’s out of the woods in relation to it. I’m not saying that the prime minister believes that, but the plan we’ve put in place is based on our best public health advice, and I have no interest in putting forward a plan that is politically ambitious and perhaps even politically expedient but would risk people’s lives.”