New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern tests positive for COVID-19

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who oversaw her country’s world-leading response to the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19, her office announced on Saturday (May 14).

Ardern’s symptoms are moderate and he will self-isolate at home for seven days, the government said in a statement.

She has already been in isolation since last Sunday, when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive, and was due to resume her parliamentary duties on Monday.

New Zealand applied one of the most restrictive approaches in the world to manage the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, and its death toll of 892 remains one of the lowest of any developed nation.

However, it has seen an increase in Omicron since restrictions were relaxed in March, with Ardern’s positive case among more than 50,000 registered over the last week.

The statement says that Ardern’s arrangements for his upcoming trade mission to the United States will not be affected.

Details of the trip have yet to be confirmed, although he is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at Harvard University on May 26.

Ardern will not be present in parliament for two high-profile national announcements: the publication of the government’s emissions reduction plan on Monday and the presentation of the annual budget on Thursday.

“This is a historic week for the government and I’m devastated that I can’t be there,” Ardern said.

“Our emissions reduction plan sets out the path to achieving our zero carbon target and the budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand’s health system.

“But as I said earlier this week, isolating with COVID-19 is a very Kiwi experience this year and my family is no different.”

Ardern shared a photo of her positive test on Instagram.

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