New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has clapped back at U.S. President Donald Trump for saying her country is experiencing a “big surge” in COVID-19 cases, calling his comments “patently wrong.”
“I think anyone who’s following COVID and its transmission globally will quite easily see that New Zealand’s nine cases in a day does not compare to the United States’ tens of thousands, and in fact does not compare to most countries in the world,” Ardern told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
“Obviously, it’s patently wrong,” she said of Trump’s remarks.
The American commander-in-chief made the comments Monday during a campaign rally in Minnesota.
“Do you see what’s happening in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front-page news because they wanted to show me something,” Trump told the crowd of supporters. “Big surge in New Zealand, you know it’s terrible, we don’t want that.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, New Zealand has reported fewer than 1,700 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 with at least 22 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Last week, after going 102 days without local transmission, the country of 5 million people recorded a cluster of new cases in Auckland, its most populous city.
Meanwhile, the United States is by far the worst-hit nation with well over 5 million diagnosed cases and more than 170,000 deaths.