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"A remarkable cause for hope." The world's reaction to Australia's COVID-19 response.

The number of COVID-19 cases across the globe is about to reach three million, with more than 200,000 deaths so far.

When we look to countries like the United States, hours away from marking its millionth coronavirus patient, and Belgium, with 612 deaths per million of its population, it becomes very clear: There are few places around the world we would rather be right now than Australia.

At of 6am AEST on 27 April 2020, there have been 6713 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with only 10 new cases recorded since Sunday morning.

Watch: The Project host Waleed Aly’s COVID-19 monologue. Post continues below video.

Video via Channel 10

Australia’s death toll stands at 83, and while any death is a tragedy, that number is small compared to the devastating figures coming out of places like the United States, Italy and Spain.

As countries across the world struggle to flatten their curve, many are looking to Australia for a story of hope among the despair and uncertainty.

On April 24, New York Times‘ Australia bureau chief Damien Cave published an article titled ‘Vanquish the Virus? Australia and New Zealand Aim to Show the Way’, highlighting the two nations as leaders in the fight against the virus and the ability for leaders to put politics aside – a major contrast to the United States right now.

“Whether they get to zero [cases of COVID-19] or not, what Australia and New Zealand have already accomplished is a remarkable cause for hope. Scott Morrison of Australia, a conservative Christian, and Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s darling of the left, are both succeeding with throwback democracy – in which partisanship recedes, experts lead, and quiet coordination matters more than firing up the base,” Cave wrote.

He wrote that if any countries had an opportunity to pull off a clear victory against the virus, “it may be these two Pacific neighbours with their sparsely populated islands, history of pragmatism and underdogs’ craving for recognition”.

Some Sydney Beaches Reopen For Exercise As Australian Coronavirus Infection Rate Continues To Decline
Sydney's Coogee beach recently re-opened for exercise before being shut down. Image: Brook Mitchell/Getty.
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That same day, the Times' weekly Australian newsletter was sent with a comment from Besha Rodell, a food critic based in Melbourne who has been watching on at America with horror.

She spoke of being worried about family and friends working in Atlanta, lining up for the supermarket in Los Angeles and worrying about returning to their offices surrounded by a population in which infections continue to rise.

"My family, like many Australian families, is under extreme financial and emotional stress thanks to the pandemic and resultant shutdown... Despite all of these things, I have never felt so thankful to live in Australia."

Of course, not all nations have the benefit of being an island near the bottom of the world, which is undoubtedly an advantage right now, but Australia did not just sit back and rely on its geography.

The Washington Post has published articles from reporter Richard Glover, mainly focused on the leadership of Scott Morrison during the pandemic, considering the coronavirus as a test of his leadership in a country that still hadn't forgotten his trip to Hawaii in the middle of its bushfire crisis.

scott morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Image: Getty.
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Glover wrote Australia's success in social distancing and following instructions - of which similar rules have provoked protests in the US - could be seen as a mark of respect for the way the government has dealt with this disaster.

"It's Team Australia in a way that would have seemed impossible just two months ago," Glover wrote.

"A sense of empathy and leadership, so often absent in Morrison's appearances during the bush fires, is now a regular feature. 'There are no blue teams or red teams,' he said this month. 'There are no more unions or bosses. There are just Australians now. That’s all that matters'."

British newspaper The Independent's article 'How Australia’s ‘suppression’ approach is rapidly flattening the curve' again praises the Australian approach, in particular the state premiers who didn't wait for the federal government to tell them how to act.

"Unlike the UK, which wasted crucial time debating herd immunity, Australia went straight for full suppression," with its strict social distancing measures, closure of borders and contact tracing, reporter Gary Nunn wrote.

New Scientist came to much to same conclusions in an April 8 article about how Australia has 'kept a lid' on the virus.

On March 17, USA Today included Australia in its countries doing the best jobs fighting coronavirus.

Finally, the Financial Times have been closely collating international data, and its graphs show just how well Australia is faring compared to other nations.

While it’s crucial that we, as a country, do not get ahead of ourselves – a second wave of infections such as that happening in Singapore is a real possibility – the path to freedom for Australians now seems like a real, tangible thing.

We're not out of the woods, but the trees are clearing more than they are almost everywhere else.

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Feature image: Getty.

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