cold turkey has got me on the run.
NZ ending lockdown
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — While most countries are working on ways to contain the coronavirus, New Zealand has set itself a much more ambitious goal: eliminating it altogether.
And experts believe the country could pull it off.
The virus “doesn’t have superpowers,” said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland. “Once transmission is stopped, it’s gone.”
Geography has helped. If any place could be described as socially distant it would be New Zealand, surrounded by stormy seas, with Antarctica to the south. With 5 million people spread across an area the size of Britain, even the cities aren’t overly crowded.
And Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken bold steps, putting the country under a strict lockdown in late March, when only about 100 people had tested positive for the new virus. Her motto: “Go hard and go early.”
New Zealand has so far avoided a widespread outbreak, and new cases have dwindled from a peak of about 90 per day in early April to just five on Tuesday, leaving the goal tantalizingly close. Only 13 people have died so far, and Ardern has been personally briefed on each death.
“We have the opportunity to do something no other country has achieved: elimination of the virus,” Ardern told reporters last week. “But it will continue to need a team of 5 million behind it.”
Petousis-Harris said the country had managed to avoid the confusion and half-measures that have hampered the response in many other places.
“New Zealand got everything right,” she said. “Decisive action, with strong leadership and very clear communications to everybody.”
Ardern on Monday announced the country would stay in lockdown for another week before slightly easing some work restrictions to help restart the economy. Most of the social restrictions will remain in place.
She also tried to temper expectations of her goal, saying elimination didn’t mean that new cases wouldn’t arise in the future but they would be stamped out immediately.
Coronavirus has touched a raw nerve. Fearing they have undermined their security through overreliance on China, European politicians are stressing that manufacturing must return to the EU.
As the crisis deepened, the EU's Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton conceded that Europe may have gone "too far in globalization" and become too reliant on "one country, one continent." German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued that the pandemic reveals the need for a "certain sovereignty here" obtained through a "pillar of domestic production."
For the self-sufficiency hard-liners, that means rolling back globalization. Armed with new technologies like 3D printers, they see a prime opportunity to rein in supply chains for machinery that stretch out to East Asia.
Current and former EU economy ministers, diplomats, business people and economists contacted for this article stressed such a wholesale revolution is unlikely, but predicted a reshoring of selected critical industries, particularly medical supplies.
For many EU leaders, the most disarming shock of the crisis has been Europe's fumbling inability to make face masks or the basic chemicals required for pharmaceuticals. Nurses in wealthy countries like Italy, Spain and even the U.S. donning trash bags for lack of gowns showed the fragility of international supply chains.
The buzzword, though, is likely to be diversification rather than all-out reshoring.
"We must learn lessons from the crisis," German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told POLITICO. "For example, when it comes to the question of dependency on just one supplier or just one region."
Face masks and pharma
Reshoring had been steadily climbing the political agenda, even before the virus forced countries into lockdown. Late last year French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire criticized the carmakers Peugeot and Renault for making vehicles in Morocco, Slovenia and Turkey.
The EU's own industrial strategy, launched last month, also identified the need "to make the most of localization as an opportunity to bring more manufacturing back to the EU in some sectors.”
The hapless response over medical supplies, however, has propelled the debate to a more practical level. Both France and Germany were quick to identify the pharmaceutical sector as a key area where reshoring made sense.
Industry ministers and business leaders who loved talking about the sharing economy, artificial intelligence and 5G, were suddenly asking anyone with a sewing machine to help make face masks.
The lack of coordination in Europe stood in stark contrast with the Asian Tigers, whose factories within days pumped out masks by the millions, along with large-scale testing kits that allowed them to contain the virus where the alleged rich world — Europe and the U.S. — conspicuously failed.
Indeed, the Europeans were playing catch up. The carmaker Seat in Spain said it had started making ventilators at one of its plants. French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that a group of French companies will ramp up production of masks and ventilators.
Back to the drawing board
The shambles over medical equipment dealt a painful blow to advocates of the theory of comparative advantage, which underpins globalization. The theory says that countries should specialize in what they make best. Free trade will make sure that every country gets what it needs at a better price on the world market than if it tried to make everything itself.
But the pandemic showed that in times of crisis, the world market collapsed. Companies remained loyal to their governments or bound by local export bans.
This came on top of research from economists working with César Hidalgo at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which in the past years has shown that countries that export a wide variety of more complex products, such as Japan or Switzerland, fare much better in terms of future growth and income inequality than countries that rely on just one industry, such as oil or soybean exporters.
Even staunch advocates of free trade started questioning whether countries had pushed the global division of labor too far.
French economist Philippe Aghion criticized what he said was excessive "deindustrialization, offshoring, extended value chains," in his country, in an op-ed for Les Echos last week. "Quietly, France has deindustrialized, it has pushed the offshoring of its value chains to the limit."
"It is difficult, even in a war economy, to mobilize non-existent capacity and evaporated know-how."
In what is maybe the strongest sign of a shift in European thinking yet, Merkel on Monday joined her French counterpart Macron in calling for economic "sovereignty" for Europe. The traditionally liberal leader argued that the crisis had made it clear that EU countries need to define a set of Europe-based "strategic capabilities."
In her remarks, Merkel made a distinction between production capacity that her government would build up immediately to tackle the health crisis — notably masks — and a wider set of systemically critical sectors, which EU governments would identify after the crisis.....More
We go level 4 to level 3 at midnight, Tues. less than 3 hours from now!!!
Covid 19 coronavirus: Whoopi Goldberg praises Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for being a 'voice of reason' during Covid-19
Goldberg then posed the question about why the US had not embraced female leadership like other countries had.
Her co-host Meghan McCain said Ardern had been a really "fascinating person" for her to watch.
She spoke how Ardern had been one of the first to lock down her country and to ban travel from China.
She went on to say how 88 per cent of her country trusted her as prime minister and her leadership which she described as "an unfathomable number".