New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern cancels her wedding due to Omicron surge
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Wellington: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday informed that she has canceled her wedding amid a new wave of Omicron cases in the country.
"My wedding won't be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic," Ardern said during a regular COVID-19 news conference today, CNN reported.
She said that health authorities have reported nine Omicron cases in Motueka in a single-family household, CNN reported adding that the family travelled to Auckland to attend a wedding, a funeral, an amusement park, and a tourist attraction last weekend, prompting the country to move to the highest "red light" setting.
The so-called "red setting" of the country's pandemic response includes heightened measures such as required mask-wearing and limits on gatherings, and the restrictions will go into effect on Monday.
Ardern stressed that "red is not lockdown", noting that businesses can remain open and people can still visit family and friends and move freely around the country.
When asked how she felt about her decision to cancel the wedding that was due to be held this summer, Ardern replied, "Such is life."
Last month, New Zealand said it was pushing back its phased border reopening until the end of February over concerns about the Omicron variant, according to CNN.
Chris Hipkins, the nation's minister for COVID-19 response, said: "Waiting till the end of February will increase New Zealand's overall protection and slow Omicron's eventual spread. There's no doubt this is disappointing and will upset many holiday plans, but it's important to set these changes out clearly today so they can have time to consider those plans."
Hipkins also said New Zealand's Cabinet has agreed to other precautionary measures, including reducing the interval between a second Covid-19 vaccine dose and a booster shot from six months to four months, and increasing the required length of stay for returning travelers from seven to 10 days in managed isolation and quarantine, as per CNN.