A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck New Zealand during the government’s COVID-19 press conference on Friday Oct. 22, interrupting prime minister Jacinda Ardern as she was being asked a question by a reporter.
As the ground began shaking, Ardern paused and gripped the podium in surprise, smiling at reporters as she waited for the quake to pass.
She then turned back to the reporter with a grin and said, “Sorry, a slight distraction. Would you mind repeating that question?”
A video of her cool response has gone viral on Twitter, gaining more than 172,000 views.
People praised her response, as well as the sign language interpreter besides her who signed “earthquake” without flinching.
There were no reports of damages or injuries from the tremor, Reuters reported.
As weak and medium intensity earthquakes are a common occurrence in New Zealand, Ardern said after the press conference that the deputy prime minister Grant Robertson, who was also on stage at the time, had thought it was strong winds.
“He was not entirely convinced it was an earthquake,” she said. “I would expect such a statement from the MP for Wellington Central.”
This was not the first time that Ardern has been interrupted by an earthquake. In May last year, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck while she was doing a live TV interview.
As the furniture around her began visibly shaking, Ardern interrupted the interviewer’s question and said, “‘We’re just having a bit of an earthquake here, Ryan.”
She again kept her cool, smiling and chatting with the interviewer about the earthquake until the shaking stopped before assuring him she was fine and resumed the interview.