New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern cancels wedding plans due to Omicron surge
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday revealed she has canceled her wedding as the country continues to curb a new wave of Omicron cases.
Speaking at a regular Covid-19 news conference, Ardern said health authorities have reported nine Omicron cases in Motueka in a single-family household. The family traveled to Auckland to attend a wedding, a funeral, an amusement park, and a tourist attraction last weekend, prompting the country to move to the highest “red light” setting. Ardern told reporters, “My wedding won’t be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic.”
When asked how she felt about her decision to cancel the wedding that was due to be held this summer, Ardern replied, “Such is life.” Last month, New Zealand said it was pushing back its phased border reopening until the end of February over concerns about the Omicron variant. Chris Hipkins, the nation’s minister for Covid-19 response, said, “Waiting till the end of February will increase New Zealand’s overall protection and slow Omicron’s eventual spread. There’s no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it’s important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans.”
Hipkins also said New Zealand’s Cabinet has agreed to other precautionary measures, including reducing the interval between a second Covid-19 vaccine dose and a booster shot from six months to four months, and increasing the required length of stay for returning travelers from seven to 10 days in managed isolation and quarantine.