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Spoiler: Most people actually approved of their government's approach.
Image: Pew Research Center<p>Denmark recorded the highest government response approval rating of the countries surveyed (95%), followed closely by Australia.</p><p>Support for their government's actions was also shown in countries like South Korea and Canada, along with European nations like Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden, where more than two-thirds of respondents approved.</p><p>But a different picture emerged in the US and UK, where delayed action to combat COVID-19 received less emphatic support. More than half of those polled in each country said they thought the pandemic had been handled poorly.</p>
Image: Pew Research Center<h3>Divided or united?</h3><p>Opinions were also split on whether the pandemic had increased the sense of national unity.<br><br>Again, Denmark proved to have the most optimistic outlook with 72% of respondents believing the country more united following the virus outbreak. In Canada, Sweden, South Korea and Australia, over half of respondents believed their country was more united.<br><br>Despite approving of their country's response to the pandemic, in European nations like Spain, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, a majority of people thought their country was more divided post-lockdown.<br><br>In the US, in an era of divisive politics and with no coordinated response to the pandemic in place, more than three-quarters of respondents believed their country was now more divided than before the pandemic.</p><p>The perceived strength of national unity is linked to trust in others, the report found. As a general principle, people who thought others couldn't be trusted were more likely to see divisions in their own country.<br><br>National divisions were most pronounced in France, where almost two-thirds of respondents who think people can't be trusted also see the country as more divided than before the pandemic.</p>
Image: Pew Research Center<h3>The role of international cooperation</h3><p>But did this perceived drop in national cohesion prevent countries seeking international help to combat the spread of the virus? And would cross-border cooperation have resulted in fewer cases?<br><br>For the majority of respondents, the answer was yes.<br><br>Across the 14 countries surveyed, 59% of respondents believed greater international cooperation would have reduced the number of coronavirus cases in their own country. In Europe, this average increases to 62%, with seven of the nine countries surveyed expressing belief in the benefits of international cooperation, which was strongest in countries like Belgium, the UK and Spain.</p><p>Outside of Europe, support for international cooperation was also notable in the US (58%) and South Korea (59%), according to the report.</p><p>In Denmark, however, 78% of people thought international cooperation would not have reduced the number of cases. A majority of people in Australia, Germany, Canada and Japan also held little store in international cooperation to tackle the pandemic.<br><br>The World Bank, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and other stakeholders, held a virtual roundtable to devise an action plan <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/statement/2020/04/21/the-world-bank-wef-gsma-and-itu-mobilized-in-the-fight-against-covid-19" target="_blank">to facilitate international cooperations and communications to better tackle the pandemic</a>.</p><p>International <a href="https://www.chathamhouse.org/expert/comment/hurdles-developing-covid-19-vaccine-why-international-cooperation-needed" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cooperation is a key element of producing an effective vaccine at scale</a> to protect the global population against COVID-19, according to Chatham House. By working together, researchers, business leaders, policy-makers and other stakeholders can more quickly overcome scientific, regulatory and market challenges to developing and distributing a vaccine.</p><p>Reprinted with permission of the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.weforum.org/" rel="noopener noreferrer">World Economic Forum</a>. Read the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid-19-survey-trust-unity-cooperation/" rel="noopener noreferrer">original article</a>.</p>
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