A gaffe from New Zealand’s Covid response minister, while briefing the media on the country’s pandemic situation, has become the internet’s latest joke.
Chris Hipkins was talking about rising Covid numbers, when he urged the citizens to go outside and “spread their legs.”
“It is a challenge for people in high-density areas to get outside and spread their legs when they are surrounded by other people,” the minister said during the briefing. A clip of Mr Hipkins, soon after he made the comments, went viral on social media.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health who was standing next to the minister, raised his eyebrows briefly and appeared to be grinning briefly when the minister slipped up.
Mr Hipkins, however, continued with his address. Later, once he realised his mistake, he said he would go “stretch his legs” and added the media “would all have fun with him later.”
Social media users soon after made all kinds of jokes about the minister’s gaffe and set the hashtag #spreadyourlegs trending. Several users urged citizens to “spread your legs, and save lives.”
“Just out here listening to my government,” wrote one user.
Another user posted a photo of two individuals spreading their legs. “People across Aotearoa, just following the medical advice from the govt,” the user wrote.
“Us kiwis are a compliant lot,” wrote yet another user, using the #spreadyourlegs hashtag.
One said: “Classic! Hope he [Mr Hipkins] goes up for New Zealander of the year!”
Another user said the minister’s slip up added a new dimension to the government’s “go hard, go early” catchphrase.
Someone else pointed out that the minister’s advice could lead to the country ending up “with a team of 10 million.”
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern earlier announced a snap lockdown across the country when a single Covid case was detected in the country after more than six months.
Ms Ardern announced on Monday that the country was extending its strict nationwide lockdown, amid fears that the Delta outbreak was yet to reach its peak.
The national lockdown was extended for three more days until midnight on 27 August, while Auckland, the epicentre of the current outbreak, would be in lockdown until 31 August.
“The safest option for all of us right now is to hold the course for longer,” she said. “If the world has taught us anything it is to be cautious with this variant of Covid-19,” she added.
The total number of infections in the country shot up to 107, according to the latest data. Thirty five new infections were recorded in the country earlier on Monday.
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