New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern postpones wedding as she introduces tougher Covid rules

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern was forced to postpone her own wedding due to the arrival of Covid-19 limitations.

Ardern said stricter regulations were needed after nine cases of the omicron variant were detected in a single family who flew to Auckland for a wedding earlier this month.

The Prime Minister was due to get married next weekend but the celebration has been postponed.

“I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like this as a result of the pandemic and for anyone caught up in that prospect, I deeply regret it,” she said.

The country’s so-called “red set” for the pandemic includes enhanced measures such as mandatory mask wearing and gathering limits, and the restrictions will go into effect on Monday.

Ms Ardern stressed that “red is not a lock”, noting that businesses can still stay open and people can still visit family and friends and move freely around the country.

The Prime Minister told reporters in Wellington on Sunday: “Our plan to manage omicron cases in the early stages remains the same as delta, where we will quickly test, contact follow-up and Ms. establish cases and contacts to slow the spread.”

New Zealand is one of the few remaining countries that has avoided any omicron outbreak, but Ardern admitted last week an outbreak was inevitable due to the variant’s high transmissibility.

The country has managed to prevent the spread of delta variant, with an average of about 20 new cases per day. But it has seen an increasing number of people arrive in the country and subject to mandatory quarantine of those infected with omicrons.

That has put a strain on the quarantine system and led the government to restrict access for returning citizens while it decides what to do about reopening its borders, leaving many wanting to return. New Zealand is angry.

About 93 per cent of New Zealanders aged 12 years and over are fully immunized and 52 per cent have received a booster shot. The country has just begun to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The family from the Nelson-Marlborough area attended a wedding and other events while in Auckland, with estimates showing they came into contact with “more than 100 people at these events”, Ms Ardern said.

“That means omicrons are currently circulating in Auckland and possibly the Nelson-Marlborough region if not elsewhere,” she added. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern postpones wedding as she introduces tougher Covid rules

Jake Nichol

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