Speed Reads

Omicr-on your wedding day

New Zealand prime minister cancels wedding as country locks down

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Sunday that she had canceled her wedding as the country implements a strict lockdown meant to control the spread of Omicron, BBC reports.

According to The Washington Post, the new lockdown includes an indoor mask mandate, restrictions on gatherings, and social distancing requirements. Gatherings that require proof of vaccination will be capped at 100 attendees, while events that allow the unvaccinated to attend will be capped at 25.

New Zealand has so far had considerable success in controlling the spread of COVID-19, with only 15,000 confirmed cases and 52 deaths to date in a country of about five million. Almost 80 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

The highly infectious Omicron variant could put an end to that record of success, with Ardern announcing that she expects the number of new cases per day will exceed 1,000 in the coming weeks.  

"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," Ardern said.

The 41-year-old Labour prime minister has been engaged to television host Clarke Gayford since 2019. In 2018, she gave birth to their daughter.