“Covid-19 election” – landslide victory for Jacinda Ardern

Dhe government’s tough stance in the Corona crisis has now also paid off politically: The Labor Party of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern achieved a historic victory in the parliamentary elections on Saturday. For the first time since proportional representation based on the German model was introduced in New Zealand in the 1990s, a party has achieved an absolute majority. Ardern’s social democratic party can even govern alone without having to enter into a coalition with the Greens, as many expected. With 49.1 percent of the vote, she has 64 of the 120 seats in parliament. The opposition National Party under the challenger Judith Collins only got 26.8 percent and 35 seats. Ten seats go to the Greens (7.6 percent) and the right-wing conservative ACT (8.0 percent).

On the evening of the election in Auckland, Ardern also thanked the voters who do not belong to the social democratic core electorate. She promised to be a head of government for all New Zealanders. But she also pointed out that she has now achieved the best result for her party in at least five decades. With a view to the corona pandemic, she said New Zealand would emerge stronger from it. “There is a lot of work ahead of us in the next three years. After the Covid crisis, we will build up New Zealand better than it was before, ”said the 40-year-old head of government. And: “I say thank you. This wasn’t a normal choice. … She was full of uncertainty and worry. Let’s move forward together. ”Opposition leader Judith Collins had previously recognized Labor’s victory in the election.

The government has primarily rewarded the 3.7 million eligible voters for its successful crisis management. In the course of the pandemic, she succeeded for the second time in reducing the number of local infections to zero. With fewer than 2,000 cases and 25 deaths, New Zealand is among the model students in the fight against the pandemic. While other countries in Europe are now imposing restrictions again, life in New Zealand has largely returned to normal. The New Zealanders are again without masks in cafes and shops. Another rugby match recently took place in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Nevertheless, the election campaign was dominated by the pandemic. Commentators even spoke of a “Covid-19 election”. The election itself had to be postponed by a month due to a temporary Covid outbreak in the economic metropolis of Auckland.

The five million New Zealanders largely agree that they owe their success in the fight against the pandemic to the rigorous actions of their Prime Minister. Under the motto “Intervene hard and early”, Ardern had closed the borders at a time when the number of infections was still very low and imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. This had serious consequences, especially for the economy. But the New Zealanders have more than 90 percent agreed to the tough measures in surveys. The head of government had also tried to explain her measures to the people directly.


Great Britain fears 50,000 corona cases a day in October

VMany felt reminded of the days before the first corona wave, when the two chief scientific advisors to the British government appeared on Downing Street on Monday and made depressing reports: The number of infections is doubling every seven days, explained Patrick Vallance. Unless the trend is stopped and “we change our course”, the country faced 50,000 infections in the middle of next month and 200 deaths a day from November onwards. “The message is simple,” said Vallance. “As the disease spreads across all ages, we will see more hospitalizations, which in turn will lead to an increase in deaths.” His colleague Chris Whitty pointed out that the virus has by no means become more harmless and that the death rate is “considerably higher” than with ordinary flu.

The joint appearance – the first in a long time – was perceived as a prelude to further restrictions. This Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to convene the crisis cabinet (with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), then appear in front of the House of Commons and then address the British with a speech to make them aware of the seriousness of the situation and the applicable distance – and to remember hygiene rules. Rumors made the rounds on Monday that Johnson could impose a two-week “mini-lockdown” on the whole country, which this time should not affect schools or jobs.

It had already happened in rapid succession in the past week. First the government introduced the “Rule of Six”, according to which – with a few exceptions – no more than six people are allowed to meet. Thereafter, the opening times of pubs and restaurants were limited in more and more regions in the northern part of the island and the “mixing of households” was prohibited. From Thursday, pubs and restaurants across the country should close by 10 p.m. at the latest. In addition, only table service will be allowed.

At the weekend, the government announced draconian fines for those infected or possibly infected who oppose the requirement of self-isolation: the equivalent of 1,100 euros for the first disregard, 11,000 euros in the event of a repeat The government increased the police presence in particularly affected areas and began to recruit special supervisors (“Covid Marshals”).

Corona app not in use until today

The Labor Party attributes the tense situation primarily to government failures. This did not use the comparatively calm summer to prepare for the second wave. The criticism of the “Test and Trace” system, which Johnson had full-bodied announced as “the world’s best”, goes beyond the opposition banks. Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin suggested over the weekend that the army be used to get a grip on the patchy contact tracing.

People walking in the British capital, London

People walking in the British capital, London

Image: Reuters

The government boasts of its efforts and explains the difficult situation in the country with a global trend. Vallance and Whitty based themselves on statistical curves from Spain and France on Monday and derived the developments in Great Britain from them. Nevertheless, Johnson is finding it increasingly difficult to counter the charge of “incompetence”. The Corona app presented with Aplomb is still not in use today, and the test offer proves to be inadequate.

The government succeeded in increasing capacities from 1,000 to 230,000 a day since March, but demand is now one million a day. Many Brits are referred to test centers hundreds of kilometers away. Only half of all those tested receive the results in the promised 48 hours; many wait longer than a week.

“Brits cannot be treated like children”

Not only the new measures, but above all the means of their implementation, arouse displeasure. Brits do not allow themselves to be “treated like children,” it says on the Tory benches. Johnson himself affirmed that he did not want a “Petz Society”, but his ministers, most notably Priti Patel (Home Affairs) and Matt Hancock (Health), encourage citizens to report violations to the police. Many MPs now regret their decision to have given the government authority to fight the disease.

An attempt to reintroduce parliamentary scrutiny is expected this week, at least to impose another lockdown. In the lower house, influential backbencher Graham Brady campaigns for it. In the House of Lords, the revolt is fueled by two former constitutional court presidents. Lord Jonathan Sumption has been presenting himself as a fundamental critic of government protection measures for months – now Baroness Brenda Hale is also calling for a return to a “properly functioning constitution”.


Survey in 14 countries: majority satisfied with corona measures

Dhe fight against the corona pandemic poses new challenges for politicians worldwide – but at least in Europe, North America, Australia, Japan and South Korea, people have so far been satisfied with the crisis management of their governments. This is the result of a recent study by the American Pew Institute, which asked people in 14 countries in these regions about the pandemic. Accordingly, an average of 73 percent rate their countries’ handling of the virus as good. The most satisfied are the Danes, where 95 percent of respondents praised their government’s crisis management, followed by Australia (94 percent), Germany (88 percent), the Netherlands (87 percent), South Korea (86 percent) and Italy (74 percent) .

In Sweden, too, the government’s handling of the pandemic in Europe is viewed critically, a majority of 71 percent of respondents were satisfied, as was the case in France (59 percent) and Japan (55 percent). Conversely, in two countries, a majority disagree that their government responded well to the coronavirus pandemic: the United States (47 percent) and the United Kingdom (46 percent).

At the same time, a majority believe that the pandemic has widened the divisions in their countries. It is true that an average of 46 percent of those surveyed have felt a greater national unity since the pandemic than before; In contrast, 48 percent see a greater division than before. This is especially true in the United States, where 77 percent of respondents said the nation is more divided than it was before the pandemic. In Germany too, a majority of 54 percent feel that way. With the exception of America, this value is only higher in Spain, where 59 percent of those surveyed see a greater gap in society due to Corona. Only in five countries have people felt greater unity than before since the beginning of the crisis; first and foremost in Denmark (72 percent), followed by Canada (66 percent), Sweden (58 percent), South Korea (56 percent) and Australia (54 percent).

The (also political) polarization caused by the corona pandemic can also be seen if you look at party affiliations: In America, respondents who are close to the Democrats were more likely to see a stronger division in their country (81 percent) than those who were the Republicans favor (74 percent). In Germany, too, 75 percent of those who sympathize with the AfD stated that the division in society had intensified. Among those who reject the AfD and its politics, however, said that only 51 percent of the respondents. A comparable picture emerged in the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Belgium or Spain: supporters of the right-wing populist parties tend to see a greater division due to the corona crisis, the others tend not.

A majority of respondents in the 14 countries believe that more international cooperation could have reduced deaths from Covid-19 (59 percent), only 36 percent said this would have changed nothing. Remarkably, the Danes, who are most satisfied with their government’s crisis management, are convinced by a large majority (78 percent) that more international cooperation would not have resulted in a reduction in deaths – a drastic outlier compared to all other countries that possibly correlated directly with the high level of satisfaction with their own government. In Germany, too, a majority of 56 percent believe that more cooperation would not have changed anything in terms of the death rate – here, too, satisfaction with the crisis management is very high.

In countries that are particularly hard hit by the pandemic, international cooperation is more important: In America, a majority of 58 percent of those surveyed believe that this might have reduced the death rate. However, this value is highest in Belgium (71 percent), followed by the United Kingdom (67 percent), Spain (65 percent), France and the Netherlands (both 62 percent) and Sweden (61 percent). The authors of the study also explicitly refer to Great Britain in order to demonstrate the connection between the desire for more cooperation and frustration with their own government: There, 64 percent of those surveyed who would have liked more international cooperation in the corona pandemic believe that theirs Government has failed to deal with the virus.


Database administrators: The silent crisis managers |

While those responsible for security in the current pandemic crisis usually receive greater attention in companies, database administrators (DBAs) are forgotten. They are the ones who make an essential contribution to ensuring that digital business processes run smoothly. […]

Bob Potter, CEO at SentryOne. (c) SentryOne

The rapid availability of data is the basis of the digital economy today. Regardless of whether companies use them to provide services, deliver goods to customers or as a basis for making decisions: The optimized provision of data that enables smooth processes is one of many factors that contribute to a company’s competitiveness.

Database administrators (DBAs) play a responsible role in the data processing chain: They ensure that databases are available to the accessing applications without delay, even with a high volume of requests, and thus prevent business operations from stalling or coming to a standstill.

In companies that completely shifted their processes to digital in the wake of the pandemic crisis, DBAs and IT departments had to react quickly to enable remote employees worldwide to work at short notice. Especially in organizations that are faced with increased customer demand or increased web traffic in the wake of the crisis, such as authorities, research institutions or e-commerce companies, DBAs have to put in more effort to ensure that all databases function smoothly and can meet the growing requirements. This shows that the everyday challenges of DBAs have intensified during the crisis. Above all, these include:

1. Job requirements are becoming more specific

Up until about two decades ago, database administrators could focus entirely on supporting production. In the meantime, however, there are various database management systems – for example MySQL or MongoDB – that are used by software developers for their applications. As digitalization progresses, as does the current crisis, the number of applications in companies increases. This inevitably makes the landscape of underlying database systems more heterogeneous. As a result, DBAs are expected to master multiple programming languages, such as SQL and C #. Your area of ​​responsibility now extends to the DevOps area, which is why DBAs have to constantly expand their knowledge of databases and programming languages.

2. Difficult conditions and increased workload

The need to work efficiently is exacerbated by the crisis. Many DBAs are currently faced with the need to reduce costs, for example due to pressure from the IT department or controlling, but they have to manage more production databases.
Production databases are of business-critical importance for companies. If they work too slowly or fail, this affects the associated applications. Studies have shown that around 70 percent of all system failures can be directly traced back to the databases. The potential financial damage from downtime is around $ 220,000 an hour for small businesses, and about $ 700,000 for large businesses.

DBAs must therefore always monitor database performance and be on-call to diagnose and correct problems. The way they work is very collaborative, as they are in daily meetings with developers to keep track of queries, indexes, and application updates. They also need to work with business users and ensure that they recognize spikes in demand, capacity requirements, and performance requirements. Meeting these requirements from home without being able to discuss the problems on site with their colleagues is currently making the tasks even more demanding.

3. Resources must be used with the greatest efficiency

While DBAs need more servers, more resources and better tools in the current crisis, they often find that these cannot be provided for financial reasons for the time being. DBAs are now more dependent than ever on the providers who provide the software for database management and performance monitoring, as well as on service providers who provide hosting, expertise and support. Every day creates new scenarios in which everyone involved has to learn to act appropriately in unforeseen situations.

The current crisis represents a test for such partnerships. The providers either succeed in deepening their cooperation with the DBAs or otherwise risk being replaced in the future. For the time being, however, DBAs need to learn to do more with less while virtually managing and monitoring data patterns, dashboards, and reports.

Innovation impulses for the digital economy

Without a doubt, the digitization surge caused by the current crisis will bring numerous challenges not only for DBAs, but also for IT specialists and solution providers. However, this could give new impetus to technological innovation and in the medium term provide new solutions on the market. A development that will in turn affect the requirement profiles for IT professionals. In this sense, the pandemic crisis can represent a stepping stone to the next level for the digital economy.

* The author Bob Potter is CEO at SentryOne.


Fear, restlessness, anger – and humility

Germany speaks

Fear, restlessness, anger – and humility