New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins hit by Covid
New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced to campaign virtually just two weeks before the October 14 election.
He has been at the helm of the country since replacing former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who resigned last January.
Mr Hipkins’ campaign team canceled their Sunday morning plans after the Labor leader woke up ill in Auckland.
A test later showed he had caught Covid, scuppering his plans during a critical phase of the campaign.
“He has cold and flu symptoms that started yesterday. He will be placed in isolation for five days or until he returns a negative test,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said.
Chris Hipkins (right) is pictured with Jacinda Ardern, his predecessor as New Zealand Prime Minister.
“He will continue with any engagements he can undertake via Zoom.”
New Zealand no longer has mandatory Covid isolation periods in place, although Mr Hipkins chooses to do so in line with its recommended health advice.
He summed up his dilemma with the first word of an Instagram post.
‘Bastard!’ he said, alongside a photo of his Covid test.
“After a rough night, I woke up this morning feeling pretty bad and just received the results of this test.
“I’m in close contact with New Zealanders during this election campaign and I don’t want to pass it on to anyone, so I’m going to follow the advice and self-isolate.”
“There is a lot at stake in this election and I will work doubly hard whenever I can get there to make sure Labor gets re-elected.”
The 45-year-old’s illness echoes that of his Australian Labor counterpart, Anthony Albanese, who caught Covid during his election campaign last year and remained on the sidelines.
The timing could hardly be worse for Mr Hipkins and Labor, which trails the centre-right National Party led by Chris Luxon by an average of 10 points.
Labor looked likely to lose in elections for much of the year, but Mr Hipkins was judged a clear winner in last week’s leaders’ debate and campaigned with renewed vigor after that boost.
“The campaign may have started slowly, but I decided I was going to enjoy the last two and a half weeks and so that’s the level of energy you’re going to see from me,” he said. declared. Wednesday after this debate.
“It’s been a tough year and our campaign probably took a little while to gain momentum, but I’m really enjoying it now and I’m going to thoroughly enjoy the next two and a half weeks.”
Mr Hipkins’ momentum will now end, with deputy leader Carmel Sepuloni taking his place for the party’s manifesto launch in Auckland on Sunday.
Early voting begins Monday in New Zealand and the third leaders’ debate, hosted by The Press newspaper in Christchurch, is scheduled for Tuesday evening.
Mr Hipkins’ campaign team canceled their Sunday morning plans after the Labor leader woke up ill in Auckland. He tested positive for Covid-19
Mr Luxon offered kind thoughts to his rival in a social media post during the election campaign in Auckland.
“Get well soon Chris Hipkins. We will see you soon on the campaign trail,” said Mr. Luxon.
It is unclear whether the virus has spread widely within Labor ranks.
One of Mr Hipkins’ press officers also tested positive, as did Dunedin-based Labor MP Rachel Brooking.