New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who led the pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19. her office said on saturday.
Ardern has been showing moderate symptoms since Friday evening, her office said.
According to her office, Ardern must be quarantined until the morning of May 21 and won’t be attending Congress this week to announce her emission reduction plans on Monday or announce her budget on Thursday.
“This week is a milestone week for the government and I regret not being able to attend,” Ardern said in a statement. “Our emission reduction plan sets a path to achieving our zero-carbon goal and our budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand’s health care system.”
Her office said the positive test “at this stage” will not affect the trade mission to the US scheduled for the end of the month. Ardern will also give a graduation speech at Harvard on May 26th. according to the university.
New Zealand has maintained some of the most stringent coronavirus restrictions in the world, particularly when it comes to international travel, as part of its efforts to contain the global pandemic. And it was largely successful until this spring, when a highly contagious omicron mutation broke out.
But when Omicron arrived, the country was well protected. Vaccination rates in New Zealand are high. 83% of the total population has been vaccinated. Coronavirus cases have been flat over the past two weeks, with a population of 5 million with an average of about 7,600 new cases per day and fewer than 14 daily deaths.
New Zealanders have recently relaxed COVID-19 regulations as they are increasingly dissatisfied with the pandemic restrictions. Earlier this month, travelers from all over the world poured into the island nation, which began accepting visitors from more than 60 countries for the first time in two years. New Zealand reopened to tourists in April from its nearest neighbor, Australia.