The pandemic COVID-19 has infected above four lakh people and killed as many as 19,000 people globally. The health emergency has become one of the most challenging battles that the world ever combated. With all the countries witnessing an exponential rise in the positive cases, stringent measures are being undertaken to reduce the infection as much as possible. Along with the risk to physical health, COVID-19 is a threat to the financial health of the countries too. The dual challenge of the pandemic and the financial crisis has caused a lot of panic and anxiety worldwide. As a silver lining in this grim situation, some of the women leaders are acing this fight.
Women Prime Ministers of Norway, New Zealand and Finland, namely, Erna Solberg, Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin are truly setting an example of strong and efficient leadership which is the need of the hour. They are taking stringent measures and at the right time to protect their countries from the brunt of the spreading infection and the impending financial crisis. Read further to know how they have ensured the safety of their nations.
Erna Solberg is the Prime Minister of Norway where more than 600 are currently infected by the virus. With the increasing risk, Solberg has declared a nation-wide lockdown which has been extended to April 13. All the schools, transportation, restaurants, and other public spaces have been shut and people have been advised for self-isolation inside their homes. She has also ensured that all the hospitals increase their capacities and the reserve of medical equipment and train more employees. Furthermore, Solberg-led government has decided to take up measures to provide protection and relief to the elderly and the high-risk groups. In a news conference, Solberg said, “These are unreal times. I know that they’re generating fear and unease, but they also bring out the best in us, our ability to take care of one another and inspire creativity. Let’s hang on to that.”
Amidst this pandemic and its restrictions, one of the most vulnerable and confused group is that of children. To address children’s concerns and questions about the virus, Solberg took up a unique step of organizing a press conference with the Minister of Education and Minister of family and children, especially for children. She is the first leader in Norway to do so.
Addressing the children of Norway, she said, “It is okay to be scared when so many things happen at the same time.” Solberg answered the questions of children not only in the audience but also the questions put across by children’s TV program NRK Super and children’s paper Aftenposten Junior. One of the questions asked was, “What can I do to help?” “By being home you are helping other people not be contaminated and get sick. It is important for those who already have a disease or who are very old,” Solberg said.
Jacinda Ardern has declared a national state of emergency as the COVID-19 cases rose to 205 in New Zealand, as reported by NDTV. All the non-essential services have been shut for at least a month. Sending a strong message to combat COVID-19 as a country, Jacinda said in a news conference, “Act like you have COVID-19,” said Jacinda at a news conference. “Every move you then make is a risk to someone else. That is how we must all collectively think, ” she added.
While coronavirus is posing a risk to the health of people, it is also ushering major economic challenges. The share markets have crashed and many countries are at the risk of suffering from a recession. To tackle the pressure of COVID-19 on the economy of New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken strong measures. Reportedly, she has also announced a special COVID-19 financial plan package that will reduce the upcoming recession in New Zealand due to the pandemic. The package which is a total of $NZ12.1 billion ($11.98 billion) provides wage guarantees, tax relief, welfare provisions and aviation bailouts. $500 million have been allotted to support the healthcare system, $8.9 billion will be spent on the business and jobs and $100 million on the work deployment support. On Wednesday, she also declared a six-month freeze on the residential rent increase and increased protection from tenancies. Besides, Ardern also conducted a press conference with two doctors about coronavirus for children.
Sanna Marin, the world’s youngest prime minister, has taken some pivotal measures to prepare Finland for the pandemic. Using the Emergency Power Act, Sanna Marin-led government has declared that all the borders of the state will be shut soon. The country shares the border with Russia, Sweden and Norway. She has also announced the end of passenger railway service between Finland and Russia. Furthermore, the government has taken immediate control of its reserves medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. After a meeting on Tuesday, the government is likely to declare the state of emergency in the nation.
“Even though more difficult times lie ahead, Finland and Finns will overcome this. Our health care professionals are highly skilled and our authorities reliable. The society is working. Now every one of us must think about our fellow citizens and their well-being even more than you,” said Marin in a conference.
Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV