New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who has announced her country was moving back to the red traffic light setting in a move to curb the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant, has been forced to postpone her own wedding to comply with the sanitary restrictions.
These measures have been regarded as out of proportion for a country where over 90% of its eligible population has had at least 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine and in light of Omicron's lesser severity.
The new restrictions came after authorities reported nine Omicron cases in Motueka in a single-family household after the family traveled to Auckland to attend a wedding, a funeral, an amusement park and a tourist attraction last weekend. A flight attendant on the flight the family took also tested positive for a case of the Omicron variant and worked on four additional flights while infectious.
Under the red light settings, events and gatherings such as weddings are limited to 100 people, with vaccine passes, or 25 people if vaccine passes are not required. Ardern announced her wedding would not go head during her press conference on Omicron Sunday.
I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic, Ardern said. 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 added.
Ardern insisted that the red restrictions are not lockdown and urged New Zealanders to get a vaccine booster shot. Our strategy is to slow the spread of Omicron down, this includes boosters and public health measures such as mask wearing and restrictions on gathering while keeping the pressure off our health system to protect those most at risk of getting sick, she said.
The Prime Minister and her romantic partner already have a daughter: Neve. They were planning to get married this summer.
New Zealand has reported a total of 52 deaths since the start of the pandemic along with 15,552 cases after adding 71 cases Sunday.