WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given a positive result to COVID-19, but said she is still …
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has given a positive result to COVID-19, but said she still plans to travel to the US later this month for a trade trip and deliver a speech at Harvard University.
On Saturday, Ardern posted a photo on Instagram with her positive test result and said she was disappointed to miss several important political announcements next week, including the release of the government’s annual budget and a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“I missed being there in person, but I will keep in touch with the team and share some views,” she wrote.
Ardern, who is fully vaccinated, has been isolated at her Wellington residence since Sunday after her fiancé Clark Gayford received a positive test for the virus. According to New Zealand health regulations, people must be isolated for seven days if one of their household members gives a positive result.
Ardern said she gave a weak positive rapid test for the antigen on Friday night and a strong positive test on Saturday morning.
She also reported that the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Neve, on Wednesday tested positive for the virus.
“Despite all my efforts, unfortunately, I joined the rest of my family and got a positive result on COVID-19,” Ardern wrote.
She said: “Anyone else who isolates or deals with COVID, I hope you take care of yourself!”
In her statement, Ardern did not describe her symptoms, although her office said in a statement that she began symptoms on Friday.
Ardern is the latest in a long list of world leaders infected with the virus. Among the first and most serious cases was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized for a week in April 2020 before the vaccines appeared.
When the pandemic broke out, New Zealand closed its borders and imposed tough blockades that allowed it to completely eliminate several outbreaks of the virus and continue to live normally. But as outbreaks proved harder to contain and most of the population received vaccinations, the country eventually abandoned its COVID-zero policy.
New Zealand experienced its first major outbreak this year as the omicron variant spread rapidly.
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