New Zealand was forced to enter into the highest level of restriction available on Sunday, Jan. 23, due to an outbreak of the Omicron variant in the country, inadvertently canceling Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s own wedding due to the escalated restrictions.

New Zealand is experiencing an unprecedented amount of cases–over a thousand cases a day and rising–due to the Omicron variant’s appearance in the country. Among the cases were nine people from a wedding party in Auckland that caused the variant to spread in the region, the Guardian reported.

“I know hearing these sorts of case numbers will sound deeply concerning for people to hear,” Ardern said in a press conference. “We’ll do everything that we can to slow the spread and reduce the number of cases we experience as a nation.”

By announcing the “red” alert level of restrictions, which places restrictions on the sizes of gatherings as well as a requirement of vaccine passes for non-essential businesses, Ardern had inadvertently canceled her wedding to her partner Clarke Gayford, according to the New York Post.

When asked about the wedding cancellation to the father of her two-year-old child, Ardern noted that many New Zealanders are also experiencing the same thing as her, and hoped that the restrictions will stop the spread of the Omicron long enough for life to return to normal.

“My wedding won’t be going ahead but I just join many other New Zealanders who have had an experience like that as a result of the pandemic,” she said. “And to anyone caught up in that scenario, I am so sorry. But we are all so resilient and I know we understand we are doing this for one another and it will help us carry on.”

The Omicron COVID-19 variant is reportedly infectious enough that the New Zealand government is worried whether its spread will elude the restrictions and controls the government has set in place during the pandemic. It appears their worst fears are being realized, according to Kiwi health officials.

“We are stronger as a team than we are as individuals, and so now I ask that we all pull together again. Please be kind. I know not everyone sees this pandemic in the same way. But for the most part, we are motivated by the same thing, and it’s looking out for each other,” Ardern said.

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 finds itself spreading in the country of New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has heightened restrictions which have also forced the public official to cancel her wedding with her long-time partner. Andy Jackson/Getty Images

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