Australia

Air New Zealand 'willing and able' to increase flights from Australia

The trans-Tasman travel bubble is paused for at least eight weeks as the Delta variant continues to spread.

Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran told Morning Report the airline would do everything to help New Zealanders wanting to return this week from Australia.

"Trust us," he said.

"We have seen plenty of people reach out over the weekend. We've got about 7500 people booked to return to New Zealand through to midnight this Friday."

Quade Cooper to travel to New Zealand with Wallabies for Bledisloe Cup

James O’Connor’s groin injury will prevent the No 10 travelling to New Zealand and with border restrictions set to play havoc with the Wallabies’ upcoming test campaign, Rennie has done the unthinkable by bringing back the 70-test playmaker back into an Australian squad.

Cooper, who recently revealed he has had his application for Australian citizenship turned down four times, will travel to New Zealand with the rest of the team on Friday.

Rugby League World Cup: Australia and New Zealand pull out of tournament

The men's, women's and wheelchair events are scheduled to take place in England this autumn.

New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) chief Greg Peters said it was "simply too unsafe" to take part.

Rugby Football League (RFL) chairman Simon Johnson called it a "selfish, parochial and cowardly decision".

"Rugby League World Cup organisers have bent over backwards to offer every assurance to the Australians and the Kiwis," Johnson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We are very unhappy with this decision and we are not prepared to take it lying down."

Anger as half of Australians in lockdown again

A third state went into lockdown on Tuesday. Stay-at-home orders are now in place in South Australia, Victoria and parts of New South Wales.

Many people have expressed frustration at being back in highly policed lockdowns 18 months into the pandemic.

And re-openings in the UK and the US have put pressure on the government.

Fewer than 14% of people are vaccinated - the worst rating among OECD nations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been heavily criticised over the slow vaccination rate, but has resisted calls to apologise.

9,000 Australian-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses arrives in Tonga

Australia is pleased to advise that these doses will be used to vaccinate vulnerable peoples in the island of Vava’u.

Australia's sharing of vaccines with the Pacific and Timor-Leste is part of our broader partnership response to the virus. "Australia is proud to stand by the people of Tonga and the region to fight this global crisis," said Australian acting Head of Mission Nicholas Murphy at a ceremony held to celebrate the arrival of the doses and their handover from Australia to Tonga.

Katie Hopkins deported from Australia over quarantine rules

Ms Hopkins - who has often drawn anger for racist remarks - had entered the country to star in the reality TV show Big Brother Australia.

On Friday she posted a video from her Sydney hotel room where she joked about putting frontline staff at risk.

Her comments sparked widespread anger.

In the video, Ms Hopkins said she planned to "lie in wait" for workers to deliver food to her room so she could open the door "naked with no face mask".

NSW records 111 new Covid-19 cases, 1 death

It's the second highest number of daily new infections since the outbreak began on June 16, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce sweeping changes to the stay-at-home orders affecting Greater Sydney and its surrounds.

From 11.59pm today, people who live in the local government areas (LGA) of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool will not be allowed to leave those areas for work.

There are several other major changes being made to the lockdowns affecting Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

Melbourne to enter snap lockdown from tonight

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there are now 18 cases in the state.

"We have 75 exposure sites, 1500 primary close contacts and 5000 secondary close contacts," Andrews said.

"I want to assure all Victorians that our contact tracers and public health experts, all the team are moving faster than they ever have, doing a brilliant job. I am very proud of them and grateful. As fast as they are moving, they are keeping pace with this virus, not getting in front. Unless we get in front, we won't drive these numbers down stop they will ultimately get away from us."

New South Wales confirms first Covid-related death in 10 months

The authorities said a woman, in her 90s, died in Sydney. She had contracted the virus in a family setting.

New South Wales reported 77 new cases on Sunday. There are now 52 people in hospital, with 15 in intensive care.

Sydney is currently in lockdown, as Australia's largest city fights to contain the highly transmissible Delta strain of the virus.

The reported death is the state's 57th and the first in 10 months.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that the number of new daily infections would rise further on Monday.

Ex-Australia MP alleges inappropriate touching by minister

Ms Banks, who made the allegation in a memoir, said the male MP moved his hand up her leg during a parliamentary vote session before moving away.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office said in a statement they weren't previously aware of the allegation.

Behaviour of such kind was "completely inappropriate," they said.

In an excerpt from her memoir, Ms Banks did not identify the man, who she said was still in cabinet.