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May 18
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden has cancelled her wedding as the nation imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, she told reporters on Sunday, Reuters reported.

The country will impose mask rules and limit gathering from midnight on Sunday after a cluster of nine COVID-19 Omicron cases showed community spread from the North to South islands after a wedding.

New Zealand will move to a “red” setting under its COVID-19 protection framework, with more mask wearing. Indoor hospitality settings such as bars and restaurants and events like weddings will be capped at 100 people. The limit is lowered to 25 people if venues are not using vaccine passes, Arden said.

"My wedding will not be going ahead," she told reporters, adding she was sorry for anyone caught up in a similar scenario. Ardern had not disclosed her wedding date, but it was rumored to be imminent.

Asked by reporters how she felt about the cancellation of her wedding to longtime partner and fishing-show host Clarke Gayford, Ardern replied: "Such is life."

She added, "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. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience."

About 94% of New Zealand's population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated and about 56% of those eligible have had booster shots. 

 

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