Regional

Vietnam to implement 15 days of social distancing in coronavirus battle

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam will begin 15 days of social distancing from Wednesday to curb community transmission of the coronavirus, the Southeast Asian country’s prime minister said on Tuesday. “From midnight April 1, everybody is...

31st March

Fiji’s central bank forecasts recession in domestic economy

After almost a decade of economic growth, Fiji’s central bank has forecast the domestic economy to fall into a recession. The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) released its economic review for March, which stated that the magnitude of the contraction would depend on how long the pandemic would last and the extent of local contagion....

COVID-19: Supermarkets install hand sanitiser dispensers

Two major supermarkets in Lautoka have installed hand sanitiser dispensers in their shops. Newworld and MaxValue have taken the lead in the fight against COVID-19, installing the dispensers in their outlets in the Sugar City. Lautoka City Council senior health inspector Shalen Singh in a recent COVID-19 public awareness said the installation of the dispensers...

COVID-19: Fiji Airways operate recovery flight

Fiji Airways today flew a recovery flight between Nadi and Brisbane. Australians who were stuck in Fiji left the country on the morning flight and Fijians who were in Australia are coming back home on the return flight. A video released by Fiji Airways showed airline staff bidding the departing passengers farewell. All the incoming...

England coronavirus death toll rises 159 to 1,284

LONDON (Reuters) – A further 159 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died in England, the National Health Service said on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed deaths in the country to 1,284.

COVID-19: PSRU Unit commanders equipped with body cams

Fijian Police officers have now been equipped with body cameras to assist them in the fight against the global impact of COVID-19 and in line with efforts by the Government to contain unnecessary spread in the country. Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said COVID-19 Police operations were being boosted with body cameras that were...

Dutch coronavirus cases rise by 884 to 11,750: authorities

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose to 11,750 on Monday from a day earlier, with 884 new cases and 93 new deaths, health authorities said. The Netherlands’ National Institute for Health (RIVM) confirmed the numbers, an 8.1 percent increase in cases, on its official Twitter account. The total...

COVID-19: WHO – No new countries report new cases in past 24 hours

The World Health Organization (WHO) says no new countries have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. In its situation report number 70 issued this morning, WHO stated that it had updated the operational planning guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The document includes a set of...

Thailand earmarks further $15 billion for coronavirus crisis

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s new stimulus package to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus crisis will be worth more than 500 billion baht ($15.3 billion), its finance minister said on Monday, It has already introduced two packages, the first to inject 400 billion baht into the economy and the second, worth 117 billion baht, to...

COVID-19: China hands over $4.3m to assist Fiji and Pacific Island countries

The Chinese government is handing over $4.3 million in cash and medical supplies to Fiji and other Pacific Island countries to fight COVID-19. The Chinese Embassy in Fiji had stated the first batch of medical supplies would arrive this week. The embassy said the Chinese local governments, enterprises and friendship associations were also lending helping...

Australia pledges $80 billion wages subsidy to protect jobs from coronavirus

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will spend A$130 billion ($79.85 billion) to subsidise the wages of an estimated 6 million people, marking a third tranche of stimulus designed to limit the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on the country’s economy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the six months of funding was necessary to ensure businesses were...

Gunmen kill New Zealand man at Freeport mine office in Indonesia’s Papua

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Attackers shot dead a New Zealand man and wounded six other people at an office of the Indonesian arm of mining company Freeport-McMoRan Inc on Monday, police said. The gunmen opened fire at around 2 p.m. (0300 GMT) at the office in the city of Timika in Indonesia’s Papua province, the company...

30th March

NZ govt releases information about Covid-19 in nine Pacific languages

New Zealand’s Ministry for Pacific Peoples has translated key messages and advice about Covid-19 into nine Pacific languages. That information is available below: Cook Islands Fiji Kiribati Niue Rotuma Samoa Tokelau Tonga Tuvalu

NZ to make decision on Cook Islands quarantine station in Auckland

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Cabinet are to decide tomorrow whether to accede to a Cook Islands supervised quarantine centre in Auckland. Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna announced the plans, and invited Cook Islanders to make their way there – but without New Zealand’s sign-off. The quarantine centre is planned to...

French Polynesia Covid-19 tally rises to 34

The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in French Polynesia has risen by four to 34. The update from the government said the hospitalisation rate is unchanged with one person in care. Last night a curfew was declared for the first time, forcing residents across all islands to stay indoor from 8pm to 5am....

CNMI records two confirmed Covid-19 cases

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has recorded its first two cases of Covid-19 according to the Governor. Ralph Torres announced the positive results during a hurriedly organized press conference last night at the Commonwealth Health Care Corporation. In a statement later released, the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force said the two cases are a 42-year-old...

Travellers from US quarantined in American Samoa

Forty-two of the 145 passengers who arrived on the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu Thursday night have been quarantined. This is the biggest group of travellers that have been taken in for quarantine since the Covid-19 outbreak World-wide. Director of Health Motusa Tuileama Nua said none of the travellers displayed signs of illness but all...

Covid-19 diagnosed in outer island of French Polynesia

The Covid-19 outbreak in French Polynesia has spread to Rangiroa in the Tuamotus. This has been confirmed by the health minister only hours after the authorities reported a rise in the number of positive tests by four to 34. The person in Rangiroa has reportedly been in isolation since arriving from Tahiti. Last week, several...

PNG activates mores teams to deal with Covid-19 threat

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister says the same systems that helped keep Polio at bay last year have been activated to deal with the threat of Covid-19. In 2019, a mammoth cross-country vaccination effort, involving over three million children, reined in a Polio outbreak. James Marape said provincial teams that were put together to administer...

Covid-19 cases in Guam continue to rise

The number of Covid-19 cases has continued to rise in Guam over the weekend. By Saturday the US terroritory had already reached 55 cases, including one death. Last night, the Governor’s Press Secretary, Krystal Paco-San Agustin, announced another case had now been confirmed. “The Guam Public Health Lab tested 23 samples for Covid-19. Of those...

Tonga now in lockdown

Tonga’s week-long national lockdown began on Sunday as authorities strive to keep the country Covid-19 free. There have been no confirmed cases in Tonga with eight suspected cases returning negative tests last week. Despite this the government introduced a State of Emergency and a lockdown, including a night curfew which began on Sunday. Our correspondent...

28th March

Cheap antibody test sent for validation in coronavirus fight

LONDON (Reuters) – A British company behind a 10-minute coronavirus antibody test, which will cost about a $1, has begun sending prototypes to laboratories for validation, which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic. Health technology firm Mologic, which created one of the first at-home pregnancy tests, is aiming for the test...

Malpass says World Bank finalising $160 billion coronavirus relief package

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank’s board is finalising a package of coronavirus relief valued at up to $160 billion over the next 15 months, the development lender’s president, David Malpass said on Thursday. “The goals are to shorten the time to recovery, create conditions for growth, support small and medium enterprises, and help protect...

UK navy shadows Russian warships after ‘high levels of activity’

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s navy said on Thursday it had shadowed seven Russian warships after detecting high levels of activity by Russian vessels off its coastline. “The Navy has completed a concentrated operation to shadow the Russian warships after unusually high levels of activity in the English Channel and North Sea,” the Royal Navy said.

Beware second waves of COVID-19 if lockdowns eased early: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Extending school and work closures at the coronavirus’ ground zero in China may delay a second wave of infections, researchers said on Thursday, urging the rest of the world to take note. With containment measures largely successful and the epidemic’s epicenter now in Europe, China has loosened a two-month lockdown in the...

27th March

U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 1,000 as unemployment widens

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. coronavirus death toll topped the 1,000 milestone as the pandemic’s mounting economic burden was illustrated by government data on Thursday showing a record number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits and hospitals struggled to treat a surge of infected patients. Roughly half the United States was under “stay at home”...

Israeli leaders open up nuclear bunker in war on coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli government has opened up a war bunker in the Jerusalem hills to help coordinate its campaign against the spread of the coronavirus, Israeli officials said on Thursday. The bunker, called the “National Management Centre”, was built more than a decade ago because of concern about Iran’s nuclear programme and missile...

Fearing coronavirus, African city dwellers flee to the countryside

NAIROBI/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Each morning at a crowded bus station east of Nairobi, Kenyans load their bags on to minibuses emblazoned with the faces of pop stars and Jesus, heading to their villages in the hope of escaping the coronavirus. “I am going back home because of corona,” said Amina Barasa, her yellow headscarf standing...

British firm says antibody test is being validated

LONDON (Reuters) – Prototypes of a coronavirus antibody test which could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic are being assessed and are ready to be optimised, the developer of the technology said on Thursday. Antibody tests are designed to establish whether people have previously been infected, as opposed to antigen tests which...

Britons to laud healthcare workers with nationwide applause

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons around the country were set to take to their balconies and front gardens on Thursday evening to applaud healthcare workers who are battling the spread of coronavirus. The “Clap for our Carers” initiative, which has been widely spread on social media, encourages people to deliver a round of applause at 2000...

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