7 Female World Leaders who responsed well to COVID-19
Countries around the world will have many differences; ideology, systems of government, religious beliefs. And they will base their decisions on these traits to forge the best society and way of life possible for its people. And following the news of the coronavirus spreading and causing deaths across the globe, again, many countries have reacted differently in an effort to avoid its citizens from being infected.
Clearly there has been no perfect way to respond to the outbreak, as no country has been able to prevent the sad loss of life. However, certain countries have performed better than others. In particular, it appears that countries that currently have a female Head of Government have experienced great success in keeping their people informed and safe preventing widespread cases of COVID-19. Here are 7 female world leaders who responded well to COVID-19.
1) Taiwan (Deaths as of April 12th- 6)
Following the news of the first case of coronavirus in December last year, several countries began to take notice as fears grew that the virus could spread to neighboring areas. And no one was quicker to react to this possibility than Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen. Within weeks she introduced 124 new measures across the country in an attempt to pre-emptively protect her people from infection.
Her measures worked as in the three months since the first death globally from COVID-19, while several countries have reported thousands of deaths, lockdowns of businesses and travel restrictions, Taiwan, the island nation just over 1,000km from Wuhan where the first case was recorded, has suffered just six deaths and is currently exporting millions of face masks around the globe to aid other countries in need.
2) New Zealand (Deaths as of April 12th- 4)
Almost every country in the world now is under some form of lockdown, forbidding people from interacting with others aside from certain situations depending on what the government in charge feels necessary. Another country not so far away from the epicentre of the outbreak, New Zealand and their leader Jacinda Ardern have been stricter than most on their citizens, leading to good results to their credit.
While the outbreak was still small, she brought in self-isolation restrictions very early and closed the borders not long after. And while countries in worst situations and with higher death rates debate loosening laws on movement, New Zealand is tightening them convinced that this is the best way to protect their people. And since the country only has four reported deaths since the outbreak began, clearly they are right to be confident in their decisions.
3) Iceland (Deaths as of April 12th- 8)
High temperature and a new and persistent cough, These are the two main symptoms of contracting coronavirus and those who experience these symptoms in the UK are advised to seek medical attention to be tested after 4-5 days. This is to limit the strain on the health service and keep people at home to see if they develop further before risking others. Other countries have taken a different approach.
In Iceland, under the leadership of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, COVID-19 testing kits have been offered to all its citizens, whether they exhibit symptoms or not. Rather than letting the virus linger, their aim is to catch it before it even becomes visible and to track people’s progress to signs of improvement or deterioration. As a result, very few restrictions on movement are in place in Iceland with schools remaining open and reported deaths remain in single figures.
4) Finland (Deaths as of April 12th- 49)
For island nations like the ones mentioned previously, it can be easier to monitor and control your borders and therefore slow down the rate of infection. For those on the mainland it can be harder, but not impossible. The country of Finland has in recent years become one of the safest and has been voted one of the best places to live on earth. And, since December 2019, the country has been ruled by the world’s youngest head of state, 34 year old Sanna Marin.
As a millennial leader, Marin was quick to realise how people today view and receive information, especially young people. Fewer people look at news websites or listen attentively to updates made by politicians. Therefore, Marin reached out to local social media influencers to help spread the important information people need to stay safe, using the internet for good rather than spreading harmful misinformation.
5 & 6)Norway/Denmark (Deaths as of April 12th- Norway- 98, Denmark- 260)
A number of things remain uncertain during the outbreak; how long will lockdowns be in place? How long before the world economy with bounce back? And therefore, it’s OK to be scared and worried about how we will pull through this. Staying in Scandinavia, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, followed not long after by Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, both went straight to the people in attempts to reassure them.
Rather than speaking to reporters in an official capacity, both leaders spoke openly and honestly to their citizens, fielding questions, some of which they were not able to answer fully, but doing their best to make them feel at ease, that things are being done and urging the people to trust that their governments are always working in their best interests. A simple idea really, but a very powerful one if executed correctly.
7) Germany (Deaths as of April 12th- 2,673)
In times of great crisis, what people really need is honestly. Nothing good will come from pretending everything is OK and hoping a problem will go away. So as the crisis deepened and began to appear across Europe, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, spoke candidly to her citizens and was frank and honest, estimating that the virus will likely impact up to 70% of the German population.
She impressed on people that this was a serious matter and that everyone needed to work together. As a result, her people responded with regular testing, obeying all government restrictions and guidelines and as a result, while there have been several thousand deaths in the country, the numbers in Germany are much lower than those in other European countries, showing everyone that we as a race need to be patient and sensible in order to see this pandemic pass by as quickly and painlessly as possible.
To learn more about COVID-19 and the UK’s current guidelines regarding the outbreak, the link to the government’s website can be found here.
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