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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Tests Positive For COVID; To Miss 2 Key Parliament Sessions

By Shanthi Rexaline

Joining the host of country heads who has contracted COVID is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and this has come barely two weeks into the reopening of the country's borders to a slew of countries.

Ardern has tested positive for COVID after being symptomatic since Friday evening, a statement from the prime minister's office read. She returned a weak positive test Friday night and a clear positive Saturday morning on a rapid antigen test. Her symptoms are moderate at this stage, the statement read.

The prime minister has been in isolation since May 8, when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive for the virus.

Ardern now needs to isolate herself till May 21 and therefore has to skip two key sessions in the parliament scheduled for the unfolding week. The government is due to release its "Emission Reduction Plan" and the budget on Monday and Thursday, respectively.

"This is a milestone week for the Government and I'm gutted I can't be there for it," Arden said in a statement.

"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," she added.

Related Link: Best Stock Brokers In New Zealand

The prime minister's travel arrangements for her trade mission to the U.S. are unaffected at this stage.

While Arden plans to work remotely during the week, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will take the post-cabinet press conference on Monday.

Incidentally, it was only in early May that New Zealand reopened its borders to people from 60 visa-waiver countries for the first time, following a protracted shutdown of over two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country began welcoming its trans-Tasmanian neighbors from Australia only three weeks ahead of the broader reopening.

Photo: Courtesy of Ulysse Bellier on Flickr

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