Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Omicron spread in New Zealand, spoiling PM’s wedding plan

WELLINGTON, New Zealand ( Associated Press) – New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has postponed her wedding following the announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, following the discovery of nine cases of the Omicron variant in a single family. , who had gone to Auckland to attend a wedding.

The so-called “red setting” of the country’s pandemic response includes increased measures such as the wearing of essential masks and limits on gatherings. The restrictions will be effective from Monday.

Ardern insisted that “red is not a lockdown,” noting that businesses can remain open and people can still meet family and friends and move freely around the country.

“Our plan for managing Omicron cases in the early stages is very similar to Delta’s, where we will do rapid testing, contact trace and isolate cases and contacts,” Ardern told reporters.

But she has a hold on her own wedding plans.

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The 41-year-old prime minister was planning to tie the knot next weekend.

“I just join the many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like this as a result of the pandemic and I am deeply sorry for anyone who has been caught in that scenario,” she said.

New Zealand was among the few remaining countries that avoided any outbreaks of the Omicron version, but Ardern acknowledged last week that an outbreak was inevitable, given the high transmittance of the version.

The country has managed to contain the spread of the delta variant with an average of about 20 new cases every day. This has seen an increase in the number of people coming into the country and going into mandatory quarantine who are infected with Omicron.

This has put pressure on the quarantine system and prompted the government to limit access for returning citizens while deciding what to do about reopening its borders, many who want to return to New Zealand. Huh.

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About 93% of New Zealanders aged 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, and 52% have had a booster shot. The country has just started immunizing children between the ages of 5 and 11.

The family in the Nelson-Marlborough area who attended a wedding and other events in Auckland earlier this month is estimated to have come into contact with “more than 100 people at these events,” Ardern said.

“This means that Omicron is now moving into Auckland and possibly the Nelson-Marlborough area, if not elsewhere,” she said.

Ardern plans to marry her longtime partner, Clark Gayford. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Nev.

In 2018 Ardern became the second elected world leader to give birth while holding office in modern history.

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