Regional

COVID-19 cases surge in Sydney as police cordon deters protest

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Sydney’s coronavirus cases continued to surge on Saturday as police cordoned off the city’s central district, preventing a planned anti-lockdown protest from taking place. There were 210 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported...

Vaccine Task Force: Critical to improve clarity and transparency on evolving vaccine market

The Task Force Committee on Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries says it is critical to improve clarity and transparency around the evolving vaccine market, expected production volumes, delivery schedules, and pre-purchase options. The Task Force – established by the heads of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Health Organization and the...

Multilateral Task Force urges COVID vaccine manufacturers to scale up production

The Task Force on COVID-19 Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Developing Countries says the supply of CVID-19 doses to COVAX, and low and low-middle income countries are delayed or ‘too slow’. And the Task Force has urged vaccine manufacturers to redouble their efforts to scale up production of vaccines, specifically those countries. The Task Force...

COVID-19 cases surge in Sydney as police cordon deters protest

Sydney’s coronavirus cases continued to surge on Saturday as police cordoned off the city’s central district, preventing a planned anti-lockdown protest from taking place. There were 210 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported in Sydney and vicinities that are under a weeks-long strict lockdown while battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. Saturday’s...

31st July

COVID-19: Fiji reports 1121 new cases and 6 deaths in two days

New positive COVID-19 infections on Viti Levu remain high with 1121 confirmed cases reported tonight for the 24-hour period that ended at 8am today. And six deaths have also been reported on July 29-30. In his COVID-19 update statement tonight, Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said 241 cases were from the Western...

Samoa’s new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port

The new prime minister of Samoa has confirmed she will cancel a China-backed port project, but hasn’t closed the door to China as she navigates a path for the Pacific nation against a backdrop of intensifying regional competition between Beijing and Washington. Fiame Naomi Mataafa indicated she would only approve investments that had clear benefits...

New Zealand introduces bill to outlaw LGBT conversion therapy

New Zealand introduced on Friday legislation that proposes up to five years in prison for practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, known as LGBT conversion therapy. The proposed measures were aimed at ending such practices, which do not work, are widely discredited, and cause harm, Justice Minister Kris...

COVID-19: Mix and match and doses

People who have received AstraZeneca as their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, can take either Moderna or Pfizer as their second jab, says World Health Organisation director for immunization Kate O’Brien. “We do know that for the two, what are called mRNA vaccines – the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine – that you...

O’Brien: No pregnancy risk in vaccines; expectant moms should get vaccinated

Pregnant women should get vaccinated because the bigger their bellies, the more their lung capacity is reduced, says World Health Organization immunisation director Kate O’Brien. Speaking during an online WHO question and answer session on COVID-19 vaccines, she said vaccines did not pose any increased risk during pregnancy. “Over the course of the pandemic we’ve...

WHO not endorsing boosters

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is not recommending boosters at this point because of lack of evidence, says WHO immunization director Kate O’Brien. “There’s a lot of research going on, to be able to provide an evidence-based recommendation so we are not recommending boosters at this point because there isn’t enough information to provide an...

Sydney readies for the army as lockdown fails to squash Delta outbreak

Sydney’s poorest neighbourhoods on Friday braced for military enforcement of the city’s toughest and longest lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic as the infection numbers held persistently high five weeks since restrictions began. With the city of 5 million people ordered to stay home amid an outbreak of the highly transmissable Delta variant, authorities outlined even...

Samoa’s new leader confirms scrapping of China-funded port

The new prime minister of Samoa has confirmed she will cancel a China-backed port project, but hasn’t closed the door to China as she navigates a path for the Pacific nation against a backdrop of intensifying regional competition between Beijing and Washington. Fiame Naomi Mataafa indicated she would only approve investments that had clear benefits...

30th July

RBF grants conditional approval to Kina Securities for Westpac Fiji acquisition

Fiji’s central bank has granted conditional approval on Kina Securities Limited’s (KSL) application to buy Westpac Fiji. The Board of the Reserve Bank of Fiji reached this resolution after its deliberations yesterday on the comprehensive assessment conducted on KSL’s application. The Westpac Group had announced its intention to sell its Westpac Pacific Business – Westpac...

COVID-19: Fiji’s seven-day average of new cases recorded at 877 cases a day

Fiji’s Ministry of Health says the country’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases is 877 cases a day. Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong noted this in his COVID-19 update statement last night as he provided the outlook of the epidemic, saying the daily number of cases remain high. He said the daily test positivity...

29th July

COVID-19: Fiji reports 1301 new cases overnight; 9 deaths in two days

Fiji reported 1301 new cases of COVID-19 for the 24-hour period that ended at 8am today and 9 deaths recorded in two days. Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr James Fong said 293 cases were from the Western Division and 1008 cases from the Central Division. Dr Fong said the deaths were reported on July...

COVID-19: Fiji’s Health Ministry in talks to secure vaccine for children

The Health Ministry is in talks to secure vaccination for Fijians between the ages of 12 and 18. Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete made the comment during the debate on the 2021-2022 Appropriation Bill in Parliament on Tuesday. “To date, we have confirmed enough vaccines for all age-eligible individuals and continue to dialogue for securing...

28th July

Sydney adds four weeks to lockdown as Australia COVID-19 cases spike

SYDNEY (Reuters) -The Australian city of Sydney extended a lockdown by four weeks on Wednesday after an already protracted stay-at-home order failed to douse a COVID-19 outbreak, with the authorities warning of tougher policing to stamp out non-compliance. Far from a planned exit from lockdown in three days, the city of 5 million people and...

27th July

Australia’s Victoria to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Victoria state will begin easing its COVID-19 lockdown restrictions as planned from Tuesday night, Premier Daniel Andrews said, after the state reported fewer new cases. People can leave their homes for any reason but several restrictions would remain, including a ban on guests in homes and masks mandatory both indoors and...

Macron backs Marquesas UNESCO bid

The French president Emmanuel Macron says he will endorse a bid by French Polynesia’s Marquesas Islands to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. The archipelago has been lobbying for years to be part of France’s UNESCO heritage. Making the first presidential visit to the Marquesas, Mr Macron told the crowd at his reception to be...

26th July

Australia sees COVID-19 cases climb, police warn against protest repeat

Australia’s most populous state reported a rise in new COVID-19 cases on Monday despite a weeks-long stay-at-home order, while police vowed to crack down on any repeat of a wild anti-lockdown protest at the weekend. New South Wales, which has had more than 5 million people in Sydney city under lockdown for a month, reported...

Australians may face longer lockdown after “reckless” mass protests

MELBOURNE, July 25 (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales logged its second-highest daily increase of the year in locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday amid fears of a wave of new infections after thousands of people joined an anti-lockdown protest. “In relation to yesterday’s protests, can I say how absolutely disgusted I was. It broke...

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