WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has overseen her world-leading country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19, her office announced on Saturday (May 14).
Ardern’s symptoms are moderate and she will be isolated in her 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 she 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, 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 in the last week.
The statement notes that Ardern’s preparations for her upcoming trade mission to the United States have not been affected.
Details of her trip are yet to be confirmed, although she 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 very important week for the government, and I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend it,” said Ardern.
“Our emissions reduction plan lays out the path to achieving our zero carbon goal and the budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand’s healthcare 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 her Instagram.