Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he spoke with US President Donald Trump today about each nation’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, suggesting a renewed focus on re-opening Australia’s economy after strict lockdown conditions.
Going by Trump’s response to COVID-19, the contents of that “very constructive” chat were probably pretty bloody concerning.
Taking to social media this afternoon, Morrison said his call with Trump covered each nation’s healthcare systems, plans to lift both economies out of hibernation mode, and ties to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Australia & the US are the best of mates & we’ll continue to align our efforts as we work towards the recovery on the other side of this virus,” Morrison said.
We also talked about the @WHO & working together to improve the transparency & effectiveness of international responses to pandemics.
Australia & the US are the best of mates & we’ll continue to align our efforts as we work towards the recovery on the other side of this virus.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 22, 2020
None of those elements are unusual, until you clock the way Trump has handled the situation.
It makes sense Morrison would chat to a powerful ally about America’s handling of the situation, but America’s response stands in contrast to our own.
The President has openly called for residents to protest against each state’s stay-at-home orders, and wants to rip businesses into action despite the lingering virus.
While Australia’s states and territories settled on a largely uniform set of lockdown protocols, America’s states adopted different strategies at different times, leading to widespread confusion and, in some cases, protests against the notion of staying the hell inside.
The numbers also tell the difference between each nation. As of this 6am today, Australia has tallied more than 6,400 infections and 74 deaths as a result of COVID-19. According to Reuters, the US has counted more than 45,000 deaths and 800,000 infections.
While Australia is knee-deep in an audit of its involvement with a slew of global organisations like the WHO with an eye of nudging towards reform, Trump this month announced the US will suspend payments to the WHO altogether.
A pandemic seems like an inopportune time to cut ties with a global health organisation, but hey. We’ll let you know if Morrison adopts any of Trump’s more reactionary positions in the weeks to come.