New Zealand PM offers COVID-19 help to U.S. President-elect Biden

(Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she offered President-elect Joe Biden assistance with tackling the rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.

During the first talks between the two since Biden was elected as the next U.S. president, Ardern said she offered access to New Zealand’s most senior health officials.

“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our Covid-19 journey,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.

New Zealand is widely heralded as one of most successful countries in suppressing COVID-19. It has recorded just over 2,000 cases and 25 deaths, a feat achieved through strict lockdowns.

New Zealand has eliminated COVID-19 from the community twice, and currently has just 58 active cases of the virus, all in managed isolation facilities.

In contrast, the United States over the weekend recorded its 12 millionth case.

The COVID-19 epidemic has claimed more than 255,000 lives in the United States – more than in any other nation – according to a Reuters tally – and a recent surge in cases has prompted more than 20 states to impose sweeping new restrictions this month to curb the virus.