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New Zealand PM tests negative for Covid-19

Wellington : New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tested negative for Covid-19 on Monday after being deemed a close contact of a case on a domestic flight.

Ardern was deemed a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case on Saturday and has entered self-isolation in line with a Ministry of Health advice, Xinhua news agency reported.

She was still required to isolate until the end of Tuesday “or as otherwise advised by Public Health,” said a spokesperson for the prime minister, adding that Ardern will chair Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting remotely, the spokesperson said.

The exposure event took place on January 22 during flight NZ8273 from Kerikeri to Auckland. The flight has been added to the Ministry of Health website as a location of interest.

New Zealand’s Governor-General Cindy Kiro and members of her staff were also on board, and are following the same isolation instructions.

The Prime Minister and the governor-general were in Northland undertaking advance filming at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, at the invitation of the Waitangi National Trust for the Waitangi Day broadcast.

New Zealand reported 91 new community cases of Covid-19 on Monday, the Ministry of Health said.

The country has recorded 16,039 cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, including 12,005 cases from the current community outbreak.

New Zealand is at the highest Red settings under the Covid-19 Protection Framework. At Red settings, face masks become mandatory in many indoor environments, and gatherings are limited to 100 people.

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