New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID-19

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the media during a press conference on COVID-19 restrictions at Parliament in Wellington on March 23, 2022. (MARTY  MELVILLE / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS / JAKARTA – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tested positive for COVID-19 with moderate symptoms, her office said in a statement on Saturday.

She will not be in parliament for the government's emissions reduction plan on Monday and the budget on Thursday, but "travel arrangements for her trade mission to the United States are unaffected at this stage," the statement said.

Ardern had been symptomatic since Friday evening, returning a weak positive at night and a clear positive on Saturday morning on a rapid antigen test, her office said in a statement

Ardern had been symptomatic since Friday evening, returning a weak positive at night and a clear positive on Saturday morning on a rapid antigen test, it said.

She has been in isolation since Sunday, when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive, it said.

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Due to the positive test, Ardern will be required to isolate until the morning of May 21, undertaking what duties she can remotely.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will address media in her place on Monday.

"This is a milestone week for the government and I'm gutted I can't be there for it," Ardern said in the statement.

"Our emissions reduction plan sets the path to achieve our carbon zero goal and the budget addresses the long-term future and security of New Zealand's health system," she said. "But as I said earlier in the week isolating with COVID-19 is a very kiwi experience this year and my family is no different."

Ardern also said on Saturday that her daughter Neve had tested positive on Wednesday.

"Despite best efforts, unfortunately I’ve joined the rest of my family and have tested positive for COVID 19," Ardern posted on her official Instagram page.


The United Nations is ready to help the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) deal with an outbreak of COVID-19, said a spokesman on Friday.

"The UN remains engaged, and we stand ready, along with our humanitarian partners, to assist the people in need in the DPRK on COVID-19 and other issues, as people's vulnerability has likely increased since the pandemic outbreak and the border closures in 2020," said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

ALSO READ: DPRK's Kim urges quick action to contain virus after 1st death

"At this stage, we are monitoring with concern the reports of COVID-19 outbreak in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. We've yet to receive formal communications on the outbreak. But we are staying in contact with the representatives of the DPRK on this," he told a daily press briefing.

Kim Jong-un, the top leader of the DPRK, on Thursday called for quick action to contain the spread of COVID-19, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

A fever whose cause could not be identified explosively spread nationwide in the DPRK from late April, and more than 350,000 people got fever in a short span of time. So far, six people have died, it said.

Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in Jakarta on May 2, 2022. (BAY ISMOYO / AFP)


Indonesia has been monitoring the increase in COVID-19 cases after this year's Eid al-Fitr holiday, when a massive exodus occurred.

During the holiday, urban people leave big cities where they work to return to their hometowns, celebrating Eid with families.

Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said, "For the next 20 to 25 days we'll see if there is an increase."

The Indonesian government has been monitoring the possibility of the emergence of new sub-variants, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which has been detected in South Africa.

READ MORE: Indonesia greets Ramadan with mass prayer as virus curbs ease

Head of the COVID-19 task force of the Indonesia Medical Association, Zubairi Djoerban, estimated that considering the current trend, an increase in new cases will occur but not in a sharp way.

Based on the experience of previous holiday seasons, Djoerban said, case monitoring must be carried out for up to three months to ensure that the transmission really slows down.

The government is also evaluating the development of transmission in the eight largest homecoming destination provinces, namely Central Java, West Java, East Java, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Lampung, North Sumatra and West Sumatra.

These provinces are mostly facing a decline in cases, except for Jakarta and West Sumatra.