The country has been under Coronavirus restrictions limiting gathering at indoor events to 100 vaccinated people.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has canceled her wedding after announcing new Coronavirus restrictions owing to the rise of Omicron cases in the country. New Zealand has been placed under the highest level of Covid restrictions after a new cluster of the Omicron variant. Prime Minister Ardern was set to marry television host Clarke Gayford but confirmed the plans were put on hold in the wake of a potential outbreak. "I am no different to, dare I say it, thousands of other New Zealanders who have had much more devastating impacts felt by the pandemic, the most gutting of which is the inability to be with a loved one sometimes when they are gravely ill," she said, reported BBC News. "That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience. Such is life" she added.
Mask mandates have been put in place in shops and on public transport after a cluster of nine Omicron cases were confirmed. Only 100 vaccinated people will be allowed at indoor events as part of the new restrictions in the country, including gyms and weddings. A family who had attended a wedding in Auckland tested positive after returning home. Officials also confirmed a flight attendant had also contracted the virus, before adding that the level of community transmission from the cluster is believed to be high. Students from year four and above will be mandated to wear masks in school.
Gayford and Ardern began dating in 2013. She was elected as Leader of the Labour Party in New Zealand, before winning a general election in 2017. She became prime minister on 26 October 2017. The couple also has a baby together. The New Zealand Prime Minister made history by being the first world leader to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting with her baby, in 2018. Ardern arrived with her then-three-month-old daughter Neve for the meeting and played with her before giving a speech1 at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, reported The Guardian. Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford held the three-month-old baby on his lap while she gave her speech. When asked about juggling parenthood and the prime ministership, she replied it had “met my expectations.”
New Zealand also had rules to cover the costs of a nanny on overseas assignments for ministers and the Prime Minister. However, Ardern paid out of her pocket for Neve's trip at the time. Gayford later shared an image of Neve's security pass which reads "first baby." He then wrote, “I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change. Great yarn for her 21st (birthday).”
New Zealand has always had strict pandemic rules and this has largely helped them minimize deaths and cases in the country, minimizing disruption. Even during the first outbreak, it was one of the first countries in the world to close its borders and implement strict lockdowns. Since the emergence of the Delta variant, Jacinda Ardern has switched to treating the virus as an endemic while pushing for higher vaccination rates. Close to 95% of the population are fully vaccinated and 56% of eligible people have had their booster shot. Ardern has encouraged New Zealanders to get boosted and said it was a “case of when not if” New Zealand had an Omicron outbreak.