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Jacinda Ardern cancels wedding amid new Omicron restrictions

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has cancelled her wedding as the nation imposes new restrictions to slow the community spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

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

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced fresh restrictions in New Zealand on Sunday, including the cancellation of her own wedding.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced fresh restrictions in New Zealand on Sunday, including the cancellation of her own wedding. Credit:Getty Images

A family travelled by plane from the North Island city of Auckland to a wedding in the South Island attended by 100 people. The family and a flight attendant tested positive.

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, Ardern 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 the date or location of her wedding to fiance Clarke Gayford, but it was rumoured to be imminent.

Asked by reporters how she felt about her wedding cancellation, Ardern replied: “Such is life.”

Ardern is congratulated by partner Clarke Gayford following her victory in the 2020 election.

Ardern is congratulated by partner Clarke Gayford following her victory in the 2020 election.Credit:AP

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.”

Ardern stressed that the red setting “is not lockdown,” noting that businesses can remain open and people can still visit family and friends and move freely around the country.

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