For the first time in most of our lifetimes, we are watching one common crisis play out across every country in the world. It’s a unique opportunity to study how different cultures and different approaches fare in dealing with a common crisis.
This report includes perspectives from IPREX partners in 14 countries – examining how these countries’ leaders communicated with the public and the level of public support. It covers the period from February to July 2020. These real-time case studies on communications best practices, provide a unique comparison of how different countries responded to the pandemic.
Key quotes from around the world
What surprised many was that a politically conservative government was prepared to spend large sums of public funds propping up businesses and jobs, knowing it would create a budget deficit that could potentially take a generation to pay off, if at all.
Wells Haslem Mayhew (Sydney, Australia)
The Ministry of Health and the government as a whole adopted the slogan “we will succeed” with the country’s mainstream media, along with organizations and corporations following suit.
Alfa Dimiourgiki (Cyprus)
However, during the shutdown, politics were pushed aside, and all political parties supported the shutdown. In addition, the Queen of Denmark gave a rare address, in which she mentioned the Prime Minister directly.
Anthon A. Nødskov
Operate (Copenhagen, Denmark)
According to Imperial College researchers, France has avoided nearly 700,000 deaths thanks to health measures… and it is the European country where the most lives have been saved.
Laurance Gabriel & François Ramaget
Gen-G (Paris, France)
Chancellor Merkel, in a move remarkably unusual for a German leader, even gave a rare televised address to the nation in late March. Her simple line that would become famous: “This is serious. Take it seriously.”
Michael T. Schröder & Maritza Kompatzki
ORCA Affairs (Berlin, Germany)
Greece is a country where health is a common good which has to be protected. Hygeia, which means health in Greek, was the goddess of health, and all the wishes and good words in Greece end with a phrase for good health.
Reliant Communications (Athens, Greece)
Third in the world in the number of cases and seventh in the world on the number of deaths, the unmistakable truth is a clear, cohesive, inclusive and empowering communication strategy would have added more teeth to India’s COVID-19 efforts.
Xavier PRabhu & Sumathi M Chari
PRHUB (Bangalore, India)
The positive response from the public was extraordinary when you consider that so many cultural, social, sporting and religious events were cancelled and schools, colleges, childcare facilities along with many retailers considered non-essential, were closed.
Ann-Marie O’Sullivan – AM O’Sullivan PR (Cork, Ireland)
Jim Walsh – Walsh:PR (Dublin, Ireland)
One of the factors that led to [Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s] approval rating dropping significantly, although Japan kept the virus spread in check, is the government’s slow response to the new virus.
Asoviva (Tokyo, Japan)
López Obrador’s discourse not only minimized the seriousness and impact of the pandemic, but also, undermined scientific warnings:
• It is generally believed that this virus isn’t that harmful…not as fatal – January 31
• Go ahead, hug… nothing will happen – March 4
• Be sure to go out… take your family out for a meal – March 22
• Avoid lying, stealing, or betraying… that’s what helps against coronavirus – June 4
Yazmín Rojas & Liliana Sotelo
Dextera Comunicacion (Mexico City, Mexico)
The government has shown inconsistencies in both its actions and communication. Initially high support for decisions quickly began to melt do to chaos and many ambiguities.
Jakub Zajdel & Kinga Karelus
More Communications Agency (Warsaw, Poland)
In what has widely become known as “the Swedish experiment,” Sweden elected to apply the principle of the ‘herd immunity’ during the initial stages of Covid-19 … So far, COVID-19 has taken over 5,000 Swedish lives, far more than any of its neighboring nations. Stefan Löfven and the social democrats look to come out of the crisis with a firmer grip on the trust of the Swedish public. Considering the spiraling situation that the party was in during the months leading up to the virus outbreak, Löfven and the social democrats have gained the trust of the Swedes for their handling of the Coronavirus.
Spotlight PR (Stockholm, Sweden)
[Boris Johnson’s] approval rating hit a high of 66% on April 14, but has been in decline ever since. At the start of June 2020, over a month past the peak of UK coronavirus transmissions, the Johnson’s approval rating is back at 47%. This is on par with the position at the start of the crisis, but the trend is now downwards.
Mike Perls, MBE
MC2 (Manchester, UK)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Regional, political and cultural differences across the 50 states have shaped the story of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. No doubt this story is still being written. Right now, the U.S. is experiencing a surge of confirmed cases of the virus, especially in the southern and western states, places where stay-at-home orders were lifted or never firmly established.
Grisko (Chicago, USA)