Jacinda Ardern self-isolating as close contact of Covid case

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in self-isolation after being deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 case, expected to be of the Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro and Ardern were on a flight NZ8273 from Kerikeri to Auckland last Saturday January 22.

The flight has been deemed as "high risk" on the Ministry of Health's updated locations of interest list.

Ardern and Kiro have now entered self-isolation as a result.

The Prime Minister's chief press secretary and members of the Governor-General's staff, who were also on the flight, are also isolating after being deemed close contacts.

Ardern and Kiro were in Northland filming for the Waitangi Day broadcast at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, at the invitation of the Waitangi National Trust, according to a statement released late Saturday by the Prime Minister's office.

"Whole genome sequencing for the case has been requested with an expected result on Sunday," the statement said.

"The result is expected to indicate that the case has been infected with the Omicron variant and the public health response reflects this."

Read more: Omicron locations no longer classified separately in Covid list

All other passengers on board NZ8273 are also deemed close contacts and are required to self-isolate, get tested immediately and remain in isolation for 10 days following their exposure.

"They will also need to follow further isolation and testing requirements provided by public health officials. They can record their exposure online or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 so contact tracers can get in touch," the statement said.

People who have been in contact with close contacts are not required to take any action.

"The Prime Minister is asymptomatic and is feeling well. In line with Ministry of Health advice she will be tested immediately tomorrow and will isolate until Tuesday," the statement said.

It comes as the Ministry of Health said on Saturday it will no longer let the public know when a location of interest is linked to a case of the Omicron variant.

Health officials announced the change through a small note on the location of interest page on Saturday. In a follow-up statement, the ministry said the change was a result of increasing Omicron cases.

“Given the growing number of Omicron cases, we expect many future cases and their related locations of interest will also likely be due to the Omicron variant.

“The Ministry of Health wants everyone to treat either Delta cases or Omicron cases with the same seriousness, and follow public health advice.”

Eleven new Omicron cases were confirmed in the community on Saturday.

The total number of Omicron community cases, either confirmed or linked to previously reported Omicron cases, is now 116.