New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed her own wedding will not take place as she brings back Covid restrictions across the country.
New Zealand will bring back ‘red’ Covid restrictions at midnight tonight, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealing her own wedding will be cancelled.
Sunday’s announcement comes after nine people registered as having Covid yesterday were confirmed to have the Omicron variant, and another household contact tested positive late yesterday.
An Air New Zealand flight attendant was also infected on a flight with positive cases. The cases were a family who flew to Auckland for a wedding.
As part of red lights, masks are mandatory on public transport, in retail settings and for children over the fourth grade in schools. There are capacity limits on retail, and with a “vaccine pass” many businesses, including hospitality, gyms and weddings, can have up to 100 people.
“My wedding will not take place but I have just joined many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like this as a result of the pandemic,” Ms Ardern told a news conference.
“To anyone caught up in this scenario, I’m so sorry, but we’re all so resilient and I know we understand that we’re doing this for each other and I know it will help keep it going.”
When asked what she thought of it, Ms Ardern replied: “So goes life”.
“I am no different dare to say from the thousands of other New Zealanders who have had far more devastating effects felt by the pandemic.
“The most sickening of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when seriously ill. It will far, far exceed any sadness I feel.
Ms Ardern got engaged to TV presenter Clarke Gayford in 2019. The couple have a three-year-old daughter, Neve.
New Zealand’s strategy is to “slow the spread” of Omicron.
“Our early-stage management plan for Omicron remains the same as Delta, where we will rapidly test, contact trace and isolate cases and contacts,” Ms. Ardern said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Ashley Bloomfield explained that household and other close contacts should self-isolate for 10 days and cases should self-isolate for 14 days.
“We have just come back to this in light of Omicron and to help manage the spread at this early stage. We think we still have a good opportunity to potentially eliminate it or really reduce the transmission of Omicron,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“Because this is Omicron, we have taken an approach at this stage where we initially isolate contacts from close contacts until those close contacts return this negative day five test and then this group of contacts second tier can continue with their normal day.”
This is in stark contrast to Australia, which has tens of thousands of new cases a day, where in most states positive cases and only household contacts must self-isolate for seven days.