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New Zealand’s Ardern turned away from cafe under coronavirus rules

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New Zealand's Ardern turned away from cafe under coronavirus rules

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Greeted for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner were removed from a cafe on Saturday because it was too crowded under physical distancing guidelines.

Ardern's government relaxed many rules of social detachment on Thursday, reopening cafes, cinemas and shopping malls after two months of some of the strictest restrictions in the world to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Ardern and Clarke Gayford went to brunch at a coffee shop in the country's capital, Wellington, where they were initially told it was very crowded, New Zealand media reported. An employee ran after them a few minutes later, when a table was cleared and the couple returned.

Arden's partner, Clarke Gayford, took the blame.

"I have to take responsibility for that, I didn't get organized and I booked nowhere," said Gayford on Twitter. "It was very kind of them to chase us when a point was released. Service A +".

The prime minister's press service said that waiting at a café is likely to be subject to virus restrictions.

"The prime minister says he waits like everyone else," said New Zealand's public television service.

New Zealand was able to contain the coronavirus pandemic before damaging the public health system. There were 1,149 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday and 21 deaths related to it, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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