Lisa Wilkinson has speculated Australia’s ‘bin fire’ handling of the Omicron crisis is what prompted Jacinda Ardern to postpone her own wedding and plunge all of New Zealand into Covid ‘red alert’.
Thousands of Kiwis are living under the most serious level of restrictions, including vaccine passports and mandatory masks, after just 24 new cases were announced on Sunday.
An outspoken critic of Australian governments’ response to the pandemic, TV host Lisa Wilkinson speculated whether Ms Ardern’s tough decisions were sparked by a fear of replicating what was happening across the Tasman.
The New Zealand Prime Minister revealed on Sunday she would postpone her upcoming nuptials to television host Clarke Gayford because she ‘was no different to other New Zealanders’.
Among the new rules is that household contacts of Covid cases now must isolate for 24 days – despite most countries worldwide implementing a 14 day, and more recently, seven day isolation period.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) has been forced to postpone wedding pans several times since Clarke Gayford (right) got down on one knee during 2019 Easter break – with Lisa Wilkinson speculating she took decisive action after seeing the ‘bin fire’ across the ditch
‘Wowee – 24 days!’ The Project co-host said on Sunday night’s program.
‘If that doesn’t give you an indication that Jacinda Ardern has looked across the “ditch” at our bin fire and gone, “Not doing that!” Wow.’
Co-host Georgia Tunny added: ‘It’s just a reminder to keep up with or try – it’s impossible to keep up with what the actual advice is.
‘There’s 24 days there, seven days here – what’s the incubation period for Omicrons and what is it Delta?
‘We work in the news cycle and it’s still so convoluted and confusing.’
Tommy Little pondered what the rules may mean for large families living under the same roof.
‘If you’ve got a big family – say 10 in your family and you keep catching it 10 days after each other. Come to four years later and you’re just getting out of iso!’ he quipped.
Lisa Wilkinson (right with co-host Georgia Tunny) expressed shock at New Zealand’s new isolation rules, where household contacts of cases must self-isolate for 24 days
Anyone infected with Covid is now required to isolate for 14 days, up from 10 days under the new interim rules.
Household contacts must then stay in quarantine for a further 10 days, stretching the time alone out to three and a half weeks.
Ms Ardern was planning to wed her television host fiancé this summer in Gisborne on the North Island before a spate of Covid-19 threw plans into chaos, almost three years after he popped the question.
She originally planned to walk down the aisle earlier but has been set back by a series of tragedies including the Christchurch terror attack, the White Island volcano eruption in 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic for the last 21 months.
‘Such is life,’ Ms Ardern said when asked about the delay on Sunday.
‘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’re gravely ill. That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience.
‘My wedding will not be going ahead, but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic.’
‘And to anyone caught up in that scenario, I’m so sorry.’
Jacinda Ardern (left) has postponed wedding plans to partner of eight years Clarke Gayford (right)
Ms Ardern raised New Zealand’s Covid alert to red after the discovery of nine Omicron cases in the community with no link to the border.
‘Red is not lockdown. At Red businesses stay open and you can do most of things that you normally do, including visiting family and friends and travelling around the country,’ Ms Ardern said.
‘One of the most important things that people can do is to make sure you and your family have a buddy – like a neighbour or a friend – who can help you out by delivering things that you need if you do become unwell.’
New Zealand reported 24 community cases and 47 new cases identified at the border on Sunday with eight people in hospital and none in ICU.
At the red setting of New Zealand’s traffic light system residents are still able to do most things, including travel and visit other households.
Masks are now required in hospitality and retail, schools, airports, public transport, and public buildings.
Hospitality can stay open, but a 100 customer limit will apply, with patrons needing to show their vaccine passport and stay seated.
Capacity limits also apply for retail and public buildings, while offices are encouraged but not required to bring in work from home.
Ms Ardern said both the North and the South Islands would be under the red alert setting for ‘some weeks’ as the country enters the start of a new wave of Covid cases (pictured, Kiwis line up for vaccines)
New Zealand’s vaccine passport, dubbed My Vaccine Pass, will be required by law to enter many venues.
A cap of 100 vaccinated attendees and 25 non-vaccinated will also apply for public and private gatherings.
There is no change to the start of the 2022 academic year, however, all students and staff above Year 4 need to wear masks indoors.
Ms Ardern said there were no changes to the international border re-opening which is scheduled for February 28.
She said both the North and South Islands would be under the red setting for ‘some weeks’ as the country enters the start of a new Covid wave.
Kiwis will still be able to do most thing, despite a red Covid alert being issued (pictured, people in Auckland on Sunday)
RESTRICTIONS AT NEW ZEALAND’S RED TRAFFIC LIGHT SETTING
– My Vaccine Pass will be legally required to be shown to enter venues that have vaccination requirements.
– Face masks are required in hospitality and retail settings, schools, universities, airports, public transport, and public buildings.
– Public and private gatherings including church services, weddings and funerals can go ahead with up to 100 attendees with My Vaccine Pass rules.
– Hospitality venues including cafes, bars and nightclubs can have up to 100 people provided everyone remains seated and separated from other groups.
– Events such as concerts, sporting matches and auctions can continue with the 100 person cap under the My Vaccine Pass rules.
– Events which don’t follow vaccine requirements are capped at 25 attendees.
– Childcare centres can remain open with all parents, staff and family required to wear face masks.
– Schools are to resume learning as scheduled but all staff and students from Years 4 and above must wear face masks indoors.
– University classes can continue with in-person attendees required to wear masks and show a My Vaccine Pass.
– And public places including cinemas and museums can remain open with the 100 person limit.
– Domestic travel can continue unrestricted with no changes to the international border re-opening which is scheduled for February 28.