Coronavirus: Jacinda Ardern had a week-long packed schedule before her COVID-19 ping

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is still awaiting her COVID-19 test results but is "feeling well" after going into isolation on Saturday night.

Ardern and Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro are considered close contacts of a case that was on a flight from Kerikeri to Auckland eight days ago and will self-isolate until Tuesday.

Ardern was in the Bay of Islands last Saturday filming a special virtual Waitangi Day commemoration in advance since all in-person events are cancelled.

The very next morning, Ardern rushed back to her Beehive podium to announce that all of New Zealand would move into the red traffic light setting that night.

It was only one week later that she got the Prime Ministerial ping after she was deemed a close contact and ordered into self-isolation.

But because the exposure event was last Saturday, and Ardern was alerted one week later, she was unknowingly out and about. During that week, she attended a vaccination centre, visited a marae, and held two press conferences - all while potentially infectious.

The Prime Minister also chaired a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, meaning if she tests positive her ministers could become close contacts.

ACT leader David Seymour questions long location of interest wait times and self-isolation requirements.

"If they can't trace the PM in a week, perhaps it's time to relax the isolation rules for everyone else."

Just one COVID-19 case could bring Parliament to its knees. 

"I thought it would be inevitable that we would have a Member of Parliament relatively early," said Speaker Trevor Mallard, when asked if he got a fright when he learned that Ardern had to go into self-isolation.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon says Ardern's need to get tested shows why wider access to rapid antigen tests is needed.

"What the PM is experiencing is what many New Zealanders are going to be experiencing in the coming weeks and months - and it probably underscores why we want to see rapid antigen tests available for all."

Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Newshub.

Despite Ardern and Dame Cindy - New Zealand's two most powerful people - being locked down until Tuesday, they're still in charge.

"Just getting the virus doesn't mean you're incapacitated. A lot of people can work from home. People would have to be really, really sick for someone to come in as an acting PM," says Speaker Trevor Mallard.

When Parliament officially returns on February 8, only half the 120 MPs will be allowed in the house - and Mallard's also got digital democracy backup plans.

"One of them is for a totally virtual Parliament where actually there'd be me only in the chamber and a minister somewhere else in the buildings," he says.

All the other MPs would be working from home, and political leaders are doing what they can to ensure they have a designated survivor plan.

"The ACT Party has already split into two halves," Seymour says.

"We're following very closely all the protocols," Luxon adds.