Global Economy

New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern Tests Positive for Covid-19

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in April, before she and her family tested positive for Covid-19.


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WELLINGTON, New Zealand—New Zealand Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern,

who championed a zero Covid-19 strategy from early in the pandemic, has tested positive for the virus and will stay at home for a week.

A government statement on Saturday said Ms. Ardern’s symptoms were moderate. It is likely she caught the virus from her partner, New Zealand television personality

Clarke Gayford,

who tested positive earlier this month. A post from Ms. Ardern’s Instagram account said that her 3-year-old daughter Neve also had tested positive.

Ms. Ardern had been isolated at her home in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, since May 8 under the rules for household contacts of people who test positive for the virus. Numerous world leaders have tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic including former U.S. President

Donald Trump

and first lady Melania Trump in 2020 before vaccines were available.

“Isolating with Covid-19 is a very kiwi experience this year and my family is no different,” Ms. Ardern said, using a colloquial term for New Zealanders.

The crisis atmosphere of the pandemic swept Ms. Ardern’s center-left Labour Party to a landslide election victory in late 2020. Its support has slumped in recent opinion polls, partly due to a rapid increase in the cost of living that has been driven by excessive stimulus in response to the pandemic and global shipping disruptions.

New Zealand was among a small number of countries that was able to delay Covid-19 becoming an endemic disease, through a combination of strict lockdowns and a border closure that also prevented tens of thousands of New Zealanders from returning home.

The country has this year dropped most of the restrictions it imposed on the public, after more than 95% of people age 12 and over were vaccinated. Recently, it has been recording 10 to 20 deaths a day from Covid-19 as the Omicron variant spreads through the country.

Write to Stephen Wright at

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