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Covid-19: New Zealand Government Blamed for ‘Flat-Footed’ Reaction

According to the country’s opposition, the government is doing very little to stimulate the economy despite being in a strong position to combat Coronavirus. The state’s reaction has been described as shockingly flat-footed.

After the country’s stock market plummeted 4.85% in the first 30 minutes of trading on Tuesday, opposition leader Simon Bridges claimed the government had failed in stabilizing the export, education, and tourism sectors. He proposed that the state postpone increasing the minimum wage scheduled for early April to assist businesses in dealing with the economic consequences of Coronavirus.

On Monday, the ANZ bank’s chief economist supported calls to stop wage increases, but the government has so far remained adamant.

According to Auckland University’s business school Professor Natasha Hamilton-Hart, the state’s responded in a typical ‘Kiwi complacency’ fashion. She added that the government’s economic reaction to Coronavirus has been slow and pretty cautious, with piecemeal responses that will have an insignificant impact considering the magnitude of the epidemic.

Michael Riddell, a former reserve bank employee and economics writer, called for the enactment of a comprehensive economic strategy. He claimed that the prime minister was fond of downplaying the risks to the country.

But the PM Jacinda Arden stated that the country’s economy was strong enough to deal with the impact of the outbreak and that they were planning a business continuity plan to help the economy through the disruption.

New Zealand has five confirmed Coronavirus cases, and almost 9,000 people are in self-quarantine, especially those recently arrived from Northern Italy and South Korea. Still, the health ministry says that 47 cases were under scrutiny.

Xi Jinping Visits Wuhan, Where Coronavirus Started

Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, has arrived in Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak started. The visit to the epicenter of the epidemic is a clear statement from the government that it believes it is winning the fight against Coronavirus.

According to Professor Zhang Ming of Renmin University, Xi couldn’t have visited Wuhan earlier due to the high risk of infection. Analysts believe that the visit is a vote of confidence to citizens that the worst was behind them, and they can go back to work and reopen the factories.

Interestingly, Xi was conspicuously absent from public view at the height of the outbreak and instead sent his deputy Li Keqiang to Wuhan.

Xi’s visit to Wuhan came when new infections in China dropped from around 2,000 cases three weeks ago to fewer than 100 in recent days. On Tuesday, the country reported only 19 new cases. As of Monday this week, 3,136 people have succumbed to the virus in China.

Italy Placed Under Lockdown Due to Coronavirus

According to an order by Italy’s Prime Minister, Italians must stay in their homes and abstain from all non-essential travel after the country of 60 million was placed under Coronavirus quarantine measures. This decree will be enforced until 3 April.

The movement will be severely curtailed, and the only exception will be health reasons, and urgent, verifiable work cases.

People with Covid-19 must stay in their residences regardless of the situation, including those with respiratory symptoms or fever.

Firms have been advised to put their employees on leave to prevent travel related to work.

Public gatherings banned, including sports events such as Seria-A. Spas, swimming pools, ski resorts, and sports halls shut.

Large shopping complexes to be closed, but supermarkets to remain open and bars can conduct business from 6 am to 6 pm as long as clients stay a meter apart.

All universities and schools closed, and all examinations postponed indefinitely. Religious places to stay open, but all ceremonies have been banned. The one-meter rule also applies here.

Italy has seen nearly 10,000 confirmed cases and more than 460 deaths.

Cruise Ship with 21 with Coronavirus docks in California

The Grand Princess, a cruise ship with 3,500 people, including 21 with Covid-19 docked in the Port of Oakland on Monday. The ship has spent the last few days idling off the coast of San Francisco.

According to the US state department, it is working with several countries to repatriate international passengers. US citizens will be taken to military bases in Georgia, Texas, and California for testing while remaining under 2-week quarantine.

Brian Ferguson, a California Office of Emergency Services spokesman, said that 23 seriously sick people were taken off the ship by Monday afternoon.

According to the Oakland Mayor and the California governor, disembarking and transferring all passengers could take three days.

This comes in the wake of Oakland city council members protesting that they were not consulted when the decision to dock the ship was reached. The most significant concern was for the personnel assisting in the evacuation and transporting of the passengers and the risk of infection.

And the situation couldn’t get much worse with Oakland without three top leaders after the firing of the police chief and the fire chief and city manager quitting. This places the city in a vulnerable situation, especially in such a crisis.

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