Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, has canceled her wedding in an effort to stem the new wave of Omicron driven COVID-19 cases in the country. Adern told a news conference that health officials recorded nine Omicron cases in Motueka in a single-family household.
“The family traveled to Auckland to attend a wedding, a funeral, an amusement park, and a tourist attraction last weekend, prompting the country to move to the highest “red light” setting,” she said. “My wedding won’t be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic.”
Ardern highlighted that such is life. “I am no different to, dare I say, 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’re gravely ill. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience. But we are all so resilient and I know we understand we are doing this for one another and it will help us carry on.”
She said the country would try to slow the spread of Omicron but it was expected New Zealand would reach 1,000 cases a day in the coming weeks and thousands a day after that.
“I know hearing these sorts of case numbers will sound deeply concerning for people to hear. We’ll do everything that we can to slow the spread and reduce the number of cases we experience as a nation,” she said.
Moreover, New Zealand is moving to a red alert level at midnight on Sunday. Under red restrictions, businesses and schools remain open and domestic travel can continue, but there are mandates for mask-wearing, restrictions on gathering size and vaccine passes are required for entry to most non-essential businesses.