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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cancels wedding amid new COVID-19 restrictions

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday canceled her upcoming wedding plans due to a recent spike in COVID-19  cases and tightened restrictions. "Such is life," she said when asked by reporters about how she felt about the cancellation, according to Reuters.

"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 are gravely ill," Ardern said. "That will far, far outstrip any sadness I experience."  

Strict new COVID-19 restrictions have been put in place after a cluster of nine cases of the Omicron variant were reported in Auckland, according to the prime minister. A family who traveled by plane for a wedding of 100 people had tested positive, as had a flight attendent. 

Under the "red" COVID-19 restrictions, gatherings such as weddings are allowed for vaccinated people with up to 100 people. If a gathering will go on without a vaccine pass, it is limited to 25 people. Hospitality venues that require a vaccine pass can be open for up to 100 people with social distancing.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Gives Omicron Update
 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson and director-general of health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield before announcing the country will move to red traffic light settings during a press conference at the Beehive in Parliament on January 23, 2022 in Wellington, New Zealand. Getty Images

Throughout much of the pandemic, New Zealand has imposed some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions. The country has had about 15,000 COVID-19 cases and 52 deaths attributed to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. But Ardern warned the cases could climb to 1,000 in the coming weeks. 

Ardern, 41, and her longtime partner, television host Clarke Gayford, were set to be married in the coming weeks in Gisborne, according to the New Zealand Herald. They have a daughter, Neve. 

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