Dr Anthony Fauci has recognised New Zealand's successful response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but warned former Prime Minister Helen Clark the disease is unlike any he has dealt with before.
The highly-respected infectious disease expert, one of the lead members of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force, made the comments in a video call with Clark on Tuesday, Stuff reports.
"He's never had to deal with a disease like this where you can be asymptomatic and highly infectious at the same time," Clark, who is co-chairing the World Health Organization’s panel reviewing preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic, said. "This is something we haven't experienced."
The 79-year-old, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US since 1984, previously worked on HIV/Aids, SARS and Ebola.
"He recognised New Zealand has had a successful response," Clark said. "I made the point that we had some advantages. We've got a big moat around us. We’re a small country with a one-chamber parliament."
On Tuesday the global Covid-19 death toll passed 1 million.
More than 34 million people have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak in Wuhan, China in January.
In the US, more than 211,000 people have died from the coronavirus. New Zealand has seen 25 deaths.