Prime minister Chris Hipkins has tested positive for Covid-19, and will be isolating for five days or until he returns a negative test.
A spokesperson confirmed he has cold and flu symptoms that began yesterday and will continue with engagements he can undertake via Zoom.
Hipkins missed an event on the campaign trail this morning but was said to still be attending Labour’s manifesto launch this afternoon. Carmel Sepuloni will now step in at the launch.
Hipkins himself confirmed the news on Instagram, posting a picture of a positive test and writing, “Bugger! After a rough night, I woke up this morning feeling pretty unwell and just got this test result. I’m in close contact with New Zealanders on the campaign trail and I don’t want to pass it on to anyone, so I’ll be following the guidance and isolating for a few days or until I get a negative test. I’ll try to keep up as many campaign engagements remotely as I can. Thanks to all of Labour’s great volunteers and supporters who I know will keep our campaign going in my absence. There’s a lot at stake this election, and I’ll be working doubly hard when I can get back out there to make sure Labour is re-elected.”
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Hipkins was due to go up against National party leader Christopher Luxon at The Press debate on Tuesday night at the Christchurch Town Hall. It’s likely to be one of many events that will be cancelled or rescheduled at this critical point of the campaign, with advance voting opening tomorrow.