Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand who led the island nation through the pandemic, tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Saturday.
Ms. Ardern has had moderate symptoms since Friday night, her office said, adding that she has been in solitary confinement since her partner, Clarke Gayford, tested positive last Sunday.
Ms Ardern will have to isolate herself until the morning of May 21, and this week she will not be in Parliament for issuing an emissions reduction plan on Monday or for budgeting on Thursday, according to her office.
“This is a landmark week for the government and I am gutted that I cannot be there for it,” Ms Ardern said in the statement. “Our emissions reduction plan sets the course for achieving our zero-carbon goal and the budget addresses the long-term future and safety of New Zealand’s healthcare system.”
The positive test will not affect a trade mission to the United States scheduled for the end of the month “at this stage,” his office said. Ms. Ardern is also expected to give a commencement speech at Harvard on May 26, according to the university.
New Zealand maintained some of the world’s strictest restrictions on coronavirus, particularly when it comes to international travel, in an effort to keep the pandemic that was sweeping the rest of the world at bay. And it was hugely successful, until an outbreak of the highly infectious variant of Omicron took hold this spring.
But when Omicron arrived, the country was well protected. of New Zealand the vaccination rate is high: 83 percent of the entire population is fully vaccinated. Coronavirus cases have remained stable for the past two weeks, and the population of five million has an average of around 7,600 new cases daily and fewer than 14 deaths a day.
With New Zealanders increasingly unhappy with the pandemic restrictions, the country recently relaxed its Covid-19 rules. Earlier this month, travelers from around the world flocked to the island nation after it began welcoming visitors from over 60 countries for the first time in two years. New Zeland reopened to tourists by its closest neighbor, Australia, in April.