In the midst of an outbreak of the Omicron strain, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was forced to cancel off her own wedding on Sunday as she reinforced Covid-19 restrictions.
“My wedding will not take place,” she declared after outlining new limitations, which include a limit of 100 fully vaccinated attendees at gatherings.
“I’ve just joined many other New Zealanders who have had similar experiences as a result of the epidemic, and I’m really sorry to anyone who has been caught up in that situation.”
Omicron spread across country
The discovery of nine cases of Omicron in a family traveling between cities for a wedding, as well as the infection of a flight attendant on one of the planes they went on, prompted New Zealand to implement its “red setting” restrictions beginning at midnight Sunday.
Omicron is significantly more contagious than the Delta variety, but it is less likely to cause serious illness.
Face coverings are now required on public transportation and in stores, in addition to regulating crowd size.
Postponing the wedding
Ardern and her long-term partner Clarke Gayford have yet to announce their wedding date, but it is expected to take place in the coming weeks.
“I’m no different from hundreds of other New Zealanders who have been affected by the epidemic in far more profound ways, the most heartbreaking of which being the inability to be with a loved one when they are severely ill. That will far outweigh any grief I might feel.”
Since the beginning of the epidemic, New Zealand has identified 15,104 Covid-19 infections and recorded 52 deaths.
For much of the last two years, stringent border controls and emergency lockdowns have been in effect.