New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID-19

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tested positive for COVID-19 but said he still plans to travel to the US later this month for a business trip and deliver his commencement address at Harvard University.

Ardern on Saturday posted a photo of her positive test result on Instagram and said she was disappointed to miss several key political announcements over the next week, including the release of the government’s annual budget and a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m devastated to miss being there in person, but I will stay in close contact with the team and share some accounts from here,” she wrote.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19. (AP)

Ardern, who is fully vaccinated, has been in isolation at her Wellington home since Sunday after her fiance, Clarke Gayford, tested positive for the virus. Under New Zealand health rules, people must self-isolate for seven days if anyone in their household tests positive.

Ardern said he returned a rapid weak positive antigen test Friday night and then a strong positive test Saturday morning.

She also revealed that the couple’s three-year-old daughter, Neve, had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

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“Despite best efforts, I unfortunately joined the rest of my family and tested positive for COVID-19,” Ardern wrote.

She said that “for anyone else out there isolating or dealing with COVID, I hope you take good care of yourselves!”

In her post, Ardern did not describe her symptoms, although her office said in a statement that she started experiencing symptoms on Friday.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand and her fiancé Clarke Gayford have the virus, along with their three-year-old daughter. (AP)

Ardern is the latest in a long list of world leaders to contract the virus. Among the first and most serious cases was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized for a week in April 2020 before vaccines were available.

When the pandemic began, New Zealand closed its borders and imposed strict lockdowns that allowed it to completely eliminate several outbreaks of the virus and continue life as normal. But as outbreaks proved more difficult to contain and most of the population was vaccinated, the country eventually abandoned its COVID-zero policy.

New Zealand experienced its first major outbreak this year as the omicron variant spread rapidly.

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