‘Big surge’: Trump’s NZ virus sledge
US President Donald Trump says he doesn't want to see a "big surge" of COVID-19 cases like "what's going on in New Zealand" where nine new infections were recorded on Monday.
The United States recorded 41,893 new coronavirus cases and 654 new deaths on August 17 compared to the previous day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The US has also recorded more cases of coronavirus than the entire population of New Zealand since the pandemic began.
Mr Trump made the remarks while speaking to a throng of supporters at a rally in Mankato, Minnesota.
He claimed his presidential election opponent Joe Biden "wants to lock all Americans in their basement for months on end".
"By contrast my administration is following data-driven and science-based approaches that apply to common sense mitigation, aggressively sheltering those at greatest risk, our seniors, we have to shelter them, and deliver effective medical treatments to save thousands and thousands of lives," he said.
"And when you look at the rest of the world, you know they were trying to say, 'Oh, we weren't doing that.'
"The places that they were using to hold up, they're having a big surge, and I don't want that, I don't want that.
"But they were holding up names of countries and now they're saying 'whoops'.
"All of a sudden a lot of the places they were using to hold up, they are having a big surge ... New Zealand, you see what's going on in New Zealand" -- New Zealand had nine (9!) new Covid cases today. The US had more than 42,000.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 17, 2020
The outbreaks are not comparable. pic.twitter.com/T8ugmKK6aa
"In fact even New Zealand, do you see what's going on in New Zealand? They beat it, they beat it, it was like front page, they beat it, because they wanted to show me something.
"The problem is, big surge in New Zealand so you know, it's terrible, we don't want that.
"But this is an invisible enemy that should have never been let to come to this country, to Europe or the rest of the world by China. Just remember it, just remember it."
Earlier this year, New Zealand initiated a hard lockdown under level-four restrictions for a month and the World Health Organisation hailed the country as an example to others for having "successfully eliminated community transmission".
The Ministry of Health on Monday reported there are 78 active cases in New Zealand, 58 of which are from the recent community outbreak and 20 are imported cases in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
The Auckland cluster was first reported by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last Tuesday, who reinstated restrictions after the country went 102 days with no known local transmission.
She has since extended them until August 26 with a review to take place later this week.
Seven of the nine new cases reported on Monday are linked to previous cases in the cluster, with 86 people including 36 who have tested positive and their household contacts moved into a quarantine facility by Sunday night.
There are five people receiving hospital care in New Zealand for COVID-19 while a total of four cases are under investigation.
New Zealand, with an estimated population of about 5.03 million people, has reported 1280 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
The United States, with a population of more than 330 million people, has recorded more than 5.3 million cases of coronavirus.
Originally published as 'Big surge': Trump's NZ virus sledge