New Zealand deems Easter bunny, tooth fairy essential workers in coronavirus battle

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy are considered essential workers too during the coronavirus restrictions. (AFP/Screenshot)
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Updated 07 April 2020

New Zealand deems Easter bunny, tooth fairy essential workers in coronavirus battle

  • PM Ardern encouraging people to celebrate holiday while respecting social distancing

LONDON: Billions of people worldwide are staying home to curb the spread of COVID-19, while medical personnel, police officers, pharmacists, grocery store workers and others deemed essential workers continue to work through the pandemic.

In New Zealand, that list gained two new additions after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy are considered essential workers too.

“As you can imagine, at this time, of course, they are going to be particularly busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies,” Ardern said, injecting a much-needed dose of humor into a serious situation, and seeking to soothe energetic children yearning to play outdoors.

New Zealanders were asked on March 24 to remain at home for a month to stop the spread of the virus, which has so far claimed one life in the country. 

As Easter approaches on Sunday, many countries will remain under some form of lockdown for the holiday.

Ardern offered a suggestion for parents to celebrate Easter with children while continuing to observe the rules of social distancing.

“I have a bit of an idea,” she said. “Maybe draw an Easter egg and prop it into your front window and help children in your neighborhood with the Easter egg hunt, because the Easter bunny might not make it everywhere this year.”

She acknowledged that the tooth fairy, given the nature of the job, might have it a bit easier than the Easter bunny during the pandemic. 

“If the Easter bunny doesn’t make it to your household, then we have to understand that it’s a bit difficult at the moment,” she said.

Ardern is the youngest female world leader, a new parent, and has gained international praise for her way of governing, particularly during times of crisis.

Her compassionate response to the anti-Muslim terrorist attacks that rocked New Zealand last year won her appreciation globally.

After 50 people in two mosques were murdered in Christchurch by a far-right gunman who espoused anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hatred, Ardern embraced the Muslim community. “We are one, they are us,” she said of Muslims in her country.


Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

Updated 01 June 2020

Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

  • Protesters managed to stop the truck and beat up the driver, who was later arrested by police
  • A New York City Police car earlier drove into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: A tanker truck drove through thousands of people marching on a Minneapolis highway to protest the death of George Floyd on Sunday before protesters dragged the driver from the cab and beat him, according to a Reuters witness and authorities.
It did not appear any of the marchers were injured when the truck raced toward them on I-35, blowing its horn, sending protesters scattering before coming to a stop, according to the witness and a tweet by the Minnesota Department of Public Security (MNDPS).
Police arrived soon after and arrested the truck driver, who was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, MNDPS said.
Video of the incident shows protesters swarming the vehicle before it comes to a stop.

Protesters hand over to police the driver of a tanker truck after he drove into a crowd marching on 35W north bound highway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)

“The incident just underscores the volatile situation we have out there,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told a news conference, adding he did not know the motives of the driver.
It marked the second incident in as many days of a vehicle driving at people protesting Floyd’s death after a New York City Police car was captured on video on Saturday driving into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects.
“Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators,” MNDPS tweeted.
Video showed the truck had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.
The company said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors in Minneapolis and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.
MNDPS did not identify the driver but said the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating the incident as a criminal matter.