Trump ‘impressed’ by Australia’s success
US President Donald Trump is "pretty impressed" by the way Australia has handled the coronavirus pandemic, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The two leaders shared a phone call on Wednesday to discuss their respective responses to the outbreak and how each country was tracking.
"He (Mr Trump) had noticed that we were doing particularly well and we talked about what was happening here," Mr Morrison told Sky News on Wednesday night.
"He was pretty impressed with what Australia's doing, I've got to say," the PM added.
Mr Morrison said he spoke to Mr Trump about how shutting down borders had been key to Australia's success.
"We both made the decision about the same time to ensure that we blocked off those incoming visits from mainland China," he said.
"That was quite critical in our story and in those early weeks. I mean, we only had one case at the time when we made that decision and the United States did the same thing."
But while Australia has managed to flatten the curve and could soon be looking at eradication, the virus is continuing to spread across the US.
"About half of the states, the President told me, have a low level of coronavirus infections. But the other half, particularly in the Tri-State area around Chicago and so on, they've definitely got some very, very difficult challenges there," Mr Morrison said.
More than 826,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed across the US compared to Australia's 6655. More than 14,800 people have died in New York alone.
WHO IN THE FIRING LINE
Mr Morrison and Mr Trump also discussed the need for more transparency from China and the performance of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Both leaders have been scathing of the United Nations for its handling of COVID-19, especially after it criticised countries for closing its borders to Chinese tourists and took too long to declare a pandemic.
Both have called for an independent investigation into how the virus started, while Mr Morrison has also challenged the WHO's decision to support China reopening wet markets, where the virus likely originated.
We also talked about the @WHO & working together to improve the transparency & effectiveness of international responses to pandemics.— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 22, 2020
Australia & the US are the best of mates & we’ll continue to align our efforts as we work towards the recovery on the other side of this virus.
Asked if the WHO should have the power to compulsorily enter countries at a time like the present, Mr Morrison said world organisations needed to be able to operate without being "fettered in any way".
"There is a clear view among other leaders that a transparent and independent process is needed to examine what has happened and what needs to change," Mr Morrison told Sky News.
"One of the things that would have been very helpful to the rest of the world is if there wasn't any delay and if there was the ability to get this information very early on - that could have alerted the rest of the world to the greater risk that was occurring there. It did take a while.
"It would be very helpful … that if there is a virus of this nature that is believed to be of pandemic potential and very dangerous to the world, well, we need to know what's going on and very fast."
"If we have that ability that could potentially save thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of lives, and we need to have that sort of ability and so that's why I am an advocate of that case."
Mr Trump has already said the United States will stop funding the WHO, which he's accused of putting "political correctness above human lives".
"So much death has been caused by their mistakes," the President said.
Mr Morrison has also spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about his concerns.
Originally published as Trump 'impressed' by Australia's success