Asia Minute: Biden Wants Coronavirus Lessons from Australia

Nov 16, 2020

As countries around the world struggle with the pandemic, those who have had some success in dealing with the virus are getting more attention. That includes Australia — which has received an inquiry from the transition team of President-elect Joe Biden.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is “very interested” in Australia’s relative success at containing COVID-19. The prime minister says he’s passing along the latest review of his country’s contact tracing program to Biden’s transition team—as well as to the Trump Administration.

The work was led by Australia’s Chief Scientist. That position has been in the country’s federal government for more than thirty years, by the way.

He says while contact tracing is important, it’s a second line of defense after preventative measures   — including distancing.

It took two months to put together the 92-page report on the country’s response to COVID. The authors visited every part of Australia — six states and two territories.

A lot of the panel’s 22 recommendations focus on improving communications between states and the federal government — although that’s an area where the United States can already learn from Australia’s experience.

On Friday, the Prime Minister said there are only “around 80 active cases” in Australia, which has had nearly 28,000 confirmed cases and 907 deaths.

That compares to the United States death toll of nearly a quarter of a million.