Saturday, April 20, 2024

PM, Trade Minister struck down with COVID-19

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Phil Twyford have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Prime Minister has been in isolation since 8 May when her partner, Clarke Gayford, tested positive to the virus.

In a statement, the Government said the Prime Minister had been symptomatic since Friday evening, returning a weak positive later that night and a clear positive on Saturday morning.

Her symptoms have been described as “moderate”.

She will be required to isolate until the morning of Saturday 21 May and will not be in Parliament this week for the release of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan on Monday or for the Budget on Thursday.

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

“Our emissions reduction plan set’s 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,” she said.

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Phil Twyford.

Meanwhile, Minister Twyford has cancelled his planned visit to Timor-Leste scheduled for Monday, where he was to represent the Government at the 20th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence, and the inauguration of Dr Jose Ramos-Horta as Timor-Leste’s next President.

New Zealand’s ambassador to Timor-Leste, Philip Hewitt, will instead represent the New Zealand Government at the events.

“I’m disappointed I am no longer able to travel to Timor-Leste this week. It is a country I have a special connection with, and I was looking forward to representing the New Zealand Government at this important milestone, and reaffirming the strong friendship between our two countries,” Mr Twyford said.

“While I won’t be able to attend in person, I would like to send my best wishes to the people of Timor-Leste on the anniversary of independence, and for the inauguration of the President-elect Jose Ramos Horta. I’d also like to thank Ambassador Hewitt for agreeing to step in for me at such short notice.”

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