New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is forced to isolate after being exposed to Covid on a domestic flight – but she’ll only have to stay at home for three days if she tests negative
- Ardern was exposed to the virus on a flight to Auckland on January 22
- Her office said she is asymptomatic and will remain in isolation until Tuesday
- A dozen flights were listed as Covid exposure sites on Saturday evening
The exposure came on a flight from the town of Kerikeri to the largest city of Auckland.
New Zealand’s Governor-General Cindy Kiro was on the January 22 flight as well and has also gone into isolation.
Both women had been in the Northland region to do some filming ahead of New Zealand’s national day, Waitangi Day, on February 6.
‘The Prime Minister is asymptomatic and is feeling well,’ her office said in a statement.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said late Saturday she is self-isolating after coming into close contact with a person infected with Covid. She is pictured with her fiancé Clarke Gayford
‘In line with Ministry of Health advice she will be tested immediately tomorrow and will isolate until Tuesday.’
Ms Ardern had been planning to get married this weekend but the celebration was postponed earlier in the week with the introduction of new Covid-19 restrictions.
Health officials listed a dozen flights as exposure events late Saturday, a possible indication that one or more of the flight crew was infected.
Officials said genome sequencing would be completed Sunday and was expected to show the infected person had the omicron variant.
New Zealand has managed to stamp out or contain the virus for much of the pandemic, and has reported just 52 virus deaths among its population of 5 million.
But an outbreak of the omicron variant is starting to take hold and is expected to rapidly grow over the coming weeks.
Ms Ardern’s office confirmed she is asymptomatic and will be isolating until Tuesday
About 77 per cent of New Zealanders are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.
That figure rises to 93 per cent of those aged 12 and over, according to New Zealand officials.
Last week, Ms Ardern announced household contacts of Covid cases would have to isolate for 24 days under harsh new rules.
Anyone infected with Covid is now required to isolate for 14 days, up from 10 days under the new interim rules.
Household contacts must then stay in quarantine for a further 10 days, stretching the time alone out to three and a half weeks.