Wellington (AFP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for the coronavirus. She has been in isolation since May 8 after her partner Clark Gifford was infected, and on Saturday the rapid test was “clearly positive,” according to a government statement.
The 41-year-old has been showing symptoms since Friday and his quick positive test result was weak Friday night. Under New Zealand’s Covid-19 rules, she must now isolate at home until May 21. A trip to the US that was scheduled for the end of May was not canceled initially.
New Zealand, with its five million people, has long been considered an exemplary country in the fight against the coronavirus. The island nation had largely isolated itself from the outside world in March 2020, at times pursuing the so-called zero-Covid strategy. Meanwhile, the country has recorded more than 1 million cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant.
Ardern will now miss a crucial week for her government in Parliament, which is due to present its zero-carbon plan on Monday and publish the budget on Thursday. “This week is a milestone for the government and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there,” Ardern said, according to the statement.
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