Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, political figures from around the world have become increasingly prominent for their handling of the crisis. Whether it’s Trump’s hydroxychloroquine, or Ardern’s covid-free status, the pandemic has acted as a success criterion for these world leaders.
Towards the end of April, we began hearing reports of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, being used to treat the deadly coronavirus. In May 2020, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, declared that he too, had been taking the drug for nearly two weeks. As the world watched in shock, explanations for the move were limited. It was reported that the White House doctor had approved the President’s taking of the drug, on the basis that front-liners across the globe had been using it as a preventive measure.
As other nations begin to see the light of day with the crisis seeming to draw back, certain countries in Asia are currently in the center of the storm. India has been setting record highs in daily cases, with many criticizing the government’s abrupt, unclear handling over the pandemic. Daily wagers have struggled to cope with lockdowns, and there have been exacerbations in the grave inequalities already prevalent across the country. Healthcare systems in developing nations like India have also been struggling with the growing number of cases, and it is imperative that decisive action be taken now to prevent further difficulties. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have, however, successfully battled the virus, and been able to sustain economic stability with decrease in cases.
Down south, New Zealand and its strong leadership have already defeated the coronavirus, announcing their zero-case status on June 8. With strict lockdown procedures and a well-equipped healthcare system, the Kiwis showed the world how it’s done. As Jacinda Ardern led her announcement press-conference, the pride and joy she had in her leadership and country shone through her words. She highlighted that cases would continue to arise, and that unity was the most important tool to continue succeeding. It has been said that female leadership across the world has been much more successful in dealing with the pandemic as compared to their male counterparts, reiterating the need for women representation in politics.
Africa, on the contrary, is still seeing fewer cases than the rest of the world. Majority nations in the region are dealing with less than a hundred cases per day. Dealing with another extensive epidemic, like Ebola, in the region would wreak havoc on all progress made in the past. The lack of sanitation and healthcare facilities available to people reiterates the marginalization and exclusion they face from the rest of the world and highlights how society must unify to work against such a deadly force.
In the UK, the ruling party has recently come under intense scrutiny. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, was accused of violating lockdown measures that others had been required to follow. Cummings was said to have travelled across the country, from London to Durham, without valid reasoning, which the public found unacceptable. There were calls for him to resign, however, he confirmed at an official press conference that he did not intend to resign. He also explained himself by giving the public an entire timeline of events, hoping to reduce the anger. There has, since, been great development in the country, with further lockdown measures announced on the 22nd of September, at the House of Commons. MPs argued that the changes would have grave impacts on workers, especially with the nearing end of the furlough scheme, and how the government must do more to address increasing unemployment and uncertainty.
As the world ploughs through what is an extremely difficult time, world leaders are displaying their skills and expertise in their field or struggling to make it through. What the pandemic has shown us though, is that being an economic or political superpower is not what gets us through difficult times, rather, it is unity, strong leadership and most of all, hope and faith.