Wellington, New Zealand – An earthquake struck New Zealand on Friday morning, but it was not enough to stun Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ardern was asking questions at a news conference Friday morning announcing the country’s new COVID-19 framework when an earthquake struck Taumarunui, 223 miles away, on the country’s northern island.
The prime minister was clearly shocked by the shaking, but quickly smiled and turned his attention back to the reporter asking about the domestic travel restrictions.
“Sorry, a little distracting,” said Ardern. “Would you like to repeat that question?”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today unveiled a new COVID-19 protection framework, a departure from New Zealand’s original elimination strategy. (Photo by RPbert Kitchen – Poole / Getty Images)
The US Geological Survey said Friday’s quake had a magnitude of 5.6. According to Reuters, minor earthquakes are common for the island nation—which finds itself on a seismically active “Ring of Fire,” a 24,855-mile arc of volcanoes and ocean trenches that encircle much of the Pacific Ocean.
No one was reported injured or damaged in Friday’s earthquake, but New Zealand was not so lucky in past incidents. In 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, killing 185 people.
In 2016, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Kaikoura. That incident only killed two people, but caused billions of dollars in damage, Reuters reported.
This story was reported from Atlanta.