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“Obviously this is patently false,” Ardern told reporters on Tuesday in response to Trump, saying there had been “a huge push” in his country.
Talk to Michigan supporters on Monday, Trump has tried to defend his handling of the pandemic by highlighting other countries experiencing sudden spikes.
“When you look at the rest of the world … now all of a sudden a lot of places that they were using to maintain themselves, they have a big increase,” Trump said. “They were waving names of countries, and now they’re saying, ‘Oops!’
“In fact, even New Zealand,” Trump said.
After several months without a new COVID-19 infection in New Zealand, the country last week began to see several cases emerging in the city of Auckland. This small outbreak, the source of which is under investigation, prompted Ardern to plunge the city back into lockdown.
According to the public broadcaster Radio New Zealand, there are currently 90 active cases of the virus across New Zealand, which has a total population of 4.8 million people.
“You see what’s going on in New Zealand. They beat him [the virus], they were beating, it was like the first page [news] they beat him because they wanted to show me something, ”Trump said on Monday.
“The problem is [there is a] strong push in New Zealand. You know it’s terrible – we don’t want that. “
But New Zealand politicians called Trump, saying it was neither fair nor accurate to compare their number of new cases – nine on Monday and 13 on Tuesday, according to Radio New Zealand – with the United States.
“Obviously, I don’t think there is a comparison between the current cluster in New Zealand and the tens of thousands of cases that are seen daily in the United States,” Ardern said.
“Each country is living its own fight against COVID-19,” she added. “It’s a delicate virus, but not one where I would compare New Zealand’s current status to that of the United States.
“New Zealand’s nine cases a day don’t compare to the tens of thousands in the United States,” she said.
On Monday, the United States recorded almost 38,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 406 deaths.
Other senior officials in Ardern’s government also pushed Trump back – in language rarely seen by any US ally.
“The American people can understand that we have for an entire day what they have every 22 seconds a day,” said Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. “It speaks for itself.”
“We now know how to take everything Donald Trump says with a grain of salt,” said Greens leader James Shaw. “But coming from the head of a country that had 42,000 new cases yesterday, I think that’s an absurd comparison.”
Ardern announced on Monday that she was going postpone the September elections in his country four weeks due to the outbreak.