PM Jacinda Ardern has Covid-19, ahead of US trip

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s much anticipated US trip, to give a commencement address at Harvard, could be in jeopardy after contracting Covid-19.

Ardern confirmed she had tested positive on Saturday morning, after a weak positive on Friday night. She had been in isolation since May 8 when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive. The couple’s daughter, Neve, had also tested positive earlier in the week.

Ardern will not be in Parliament this week for the release of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan this coming Monday or for the Budget on Thursday.

While Ardern’s office said travel arrangements for her trade mission to the United States are unaffected at this stage, US travel information suggests she could be cutting it fine to deliver the high-profile commencement address at Harvard University on May 26.

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The trade focused trip to the United States had been planned for May for some time. The itinerary has not yet been released.

Travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that non-US citizens should not travel to the US for a full 10 days after symptoms started or the date of a positive test. That would mean Ardern could not travel until May 24.

A press statement from Ardern’s office on Saturday said she had been symptomatic since Friday evening, returning a weak positive Friday night and a clear positive Saturday using a RAT. Ardern’s daughter Neve also had tested positive earlier in the week.

At this stage her symptoms are moderate, the statement said, however she will have to isolate until the morning of May 21.

Jacinda Ardern has Covid-19.

Christel Yardley/Stuff

Jacinda Ardern has Covid-19.

Ardern will not be in Parliament this week for the release of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan this coming Monday or for the Budget on Thursday. Travel arrangements for her trade mission to the United States are unaffected at this stage, Ardern’s office said.

The trade focused trip to the United States is planned for May. The itinerary has not yet been released, but it includes delivering the high-profile commencement address at Harvard University on May 26.

Travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that non-US citizens should not travel to the US for a full 10 days after symptoms started or the date of a positive test. That would mean Ardern could not travel until May 24.

Meanwhile, Ardern would “undertake what duties she can remotely” but deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson will take the post-cabinet press conference on May 16.

“This is a milestone week for the Government and I’m gutted I can’t be there for it,” Ardern said.

“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.

“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.”

In an Instagram post Ardern said despite her best efforts she’d caught the virus.

“To anyone else out there, isolating or dealing with Covid, I hope you take good care of yourselves,” she wrote.

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