New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has cancelled her wedding as her Government imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the Omicron variant. Reuters has more
New Zealand will impose mask rules and limit gathering from midnight on Sunday after a cluster of nine COVID-19 Omicron cases showed community spread from the North to South islands after a wedding.
A family returned to Nelson in the South Island by plane after attending a wedding and other events in Auckland in the North Island. The family and a flight attendant tested positive.
New Zealand will move to a red setting under its COVID-19 protection framework, with more mask wearing. Indoor hospitality settings such as bars and restaurants and events like weddings will be capped at 100 people. The limit is lowered to 25 people if venues are not using vaccine passes, Arden said.
“My wedding will not be going ahead,” she told reporters, adding she was sorry for anyone caught up in a similar scenario. Ardern had not disclosed her wedding date, but it was rumoured to be imminent.
Asked by reporters how she felt about the cancellation of her wedding to longtime partner and fishing-show host Clarke Gayford, Ardern replied: “Such is life.”
She added, “I am no different to, dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience.”
New Zealand’s borders have been shut to foreigners since March 2020. The government pushed back plans for a phased reopening from mid-January to the end of February out of concern about a potential Omicron outbreak as in neighbouring Australia.
People able to travel to New Zealand under narrow exceptions must apply to stay at state-managed quarantine facilities. The government last week stopped issuing any new slots amid a surge in the number of people arriving with Omicron.
About 94% of New Zealand’s population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated and about 56% of those eligible have had booster shots.
According to MailOnline, New Zealand will make household contacts of Covid cases isolate for 24 days.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has brought in the strict measures as the country battles to stay Covid Zero despite the threat of the highly contagious mutant strain.
But critics say the lengthy quarantine period is ‘unworkable’ and will lead people to avoid getting tested.
Anyone infected with Covid is now required to isolate for 14 days, up from 10 days under the new interim rules.
Household contacts must then stay in quarantine for a further 10 days, stretching the time alone out to three and a half weeks.
Jacinda Arden is behaving like a character in a Don’t Look Up-style satire about the absurd lengths Zero Covid fanatics will go to avoid abandoning their crackpot agenda. Ninety-four per cent of the over-12s vaccinated and the toothy tyrant still won’t give them their freedom back.
Worth reading in full.