Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, has tested positive for Covid-19 days after her country relaxed strict border controls implemented in response to the virus.
The 41-year-old politician was already isolating after her partner Clarke Gayford had tested positive for the virus last Sunday, and will now have to remain in isolation for a further week, something she described as “a very Kiwi experience”.
Ardern’s office confirmed the prime minister developed symptoms on Friday evening and returned positive tests both that evening and the following morning. She is not suffering from any severe symptoms.
The leader will continue some duties remotely, with deputy Grant Robertson stepping in for those that require in-person attendance. The extended isolation period means she will miss parliamentary events scheduled for the coming week, including the budget on Thursday.
Arden will also be unable to attend two set-piece events in the emissions reduction plan on Monday, a flagship policy of her government.
“This is a milestone week for the government and I’m gutted I can’t be there for it,” Ardern said.
“Our emissions reduction plan sets the path to achieve our carbon zero goal and the budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand’s health system.
“But as I said earlier in the week, isolating with Covid-19 is a very Kiwi experience this year and my family is no different.”
Ardern’s confirmed sickness comes days after New Zealand finally relaxed its border policies in response to the pandemic. The nation had some of the strictest and longest lasting restrictions in place, something which supporters believe led to the extremely low number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country.