Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Hon Phil Twyford tested positive for COVID-19 after a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) on Sunday morning.
The news comes after New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tested COVID-19 positive last week, ahead of her planned commencement address at Harvard University in the United States.
Mr Twyford’s COVID-19 symptoms reportedly began on Friday evening.
The COVID-19 positive test result means the Labour MP must cancel his visit to Timor-Leste on Monday, May 16, where he was to represent New Zealand at Timor-Leste’s 20th Independence Anniversary.
New Zealand’s ambassador to Timor-Leste, Philip Hewitt, will replace Mr Twyford as the New Zealand government representative at the anniversary celebration.
The event will also include the inauguration of Dr Jose Ramos-Horta as Timor-Leste’s next President.
“I’m disappointed I am no longer able to travel to Timor-Leste this week. It is a country I have a special connection with, and I was looking forward to representing the New Zealand Government at this important milestone, and reaffirming the strong friendship between our two countries,” said Mr Twyford.
“While I won’t be able to attend in person, I would like to send my best wishes to the people of Timor-Leste on the anniversary of independence, and for the inauguration of the President-elect Jose Ramos Horta. I’d also like to thank Ambassador Hewitt for agreeing to step in for me at such short notice.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will also be absent from Parliament this week, meaning she will not be at the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan announcement on Monday, May 16 or the Budget 2022 delivery on Thursday, May 19.
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