Coronavirus

NZ says committed to getting vaccines into Pacific

Nanaia Mahuta told the New Zealand Parliament, discussions were being held around the implementation of a so-called TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organisation aimed at speeding up the production and delivery of vaccines.

The TRIPS [Trade and Intellectual Property Rules] mechanism looked to protect intellectual property and trade interests but in doing so critics said it slowed collaboration between companies.

NGOs had called for a waiver to be approved immediately.

Mahuta said the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines needed to be addressed urgently.

'Double mutant' Covid variant found in India

Officials are checking if the variant, where two mutations come together in the same virus, may be more infectious or less affected by vaccines.

Some 10,787 samples from 18 Indian states also showed up 771 cases of known variants - 736 of the UK, 34 of the South African and one Brazilian.

Officials say the variants are not linked to a spike in cases in India.

India reported 47,262 cases and 275 deaths on Wednesday - the sharpest daily rise this year.

PNG reports 10 new cases of Covid-19

The latest cases were reported in West Sepik, Madang, East New Britain and in the National Capital District.

In the NCD, two men aged 45 year and 49 year who reside in Moresby South tested positive. They were both experiencing fever, muscle aches and had a cough at the time of testing.

East New Britain and Madang reported a case each while West Sepik reported six new cases.

A 36 year old female was the latest to be confirmed positive in the East New Britain province. She was experiencing symptoms.

Ellen DeGeneres latest celebrity to test positive for Covid-19

The American comedian said on Twitter that all her close contacts had been notified.

"I want to let you all know that I tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, I'm feeling fine right now," she said in a Twitter posting.

DeGeneres, 62, host of the popular daytime show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, said she was following health guidelines and would return to her show after the holidays.

A representative said production of the show had been halted until January.

US Covid-19 deaths top 3000-a-day for first time

Steady movement toward a vaccine rollout on the eve of a critical review by leading US medical experts comes as Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations surged alarmingly higher, straining healthcare systems in some pandemic hot spots to the breaking point.

Ten mostly rural counties scattered across California reported having no intensive care unit beds available on Wednesday, according to state health data analysed by Reuters.

Two sailors who arrived in Fiji by freighter test positive for Covid-19, active cases hit 11

The Health Ministry said the vessel arrived in Lautoka on 2 December to deliver cargo and then proceeded to Suva.

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said the two sailors were under strict quarantine measures.

Twenty-five locals including the local agents of the vessel, staff from Biosecurity Authority, the Ports Authority and Customs were also all in quarantine.

The two sailors had not been classified as Covid-19 border cases yet "because officials are awaiting information on whether they had tested positive for the virus in another country", Fong said.

South Korea raises alert level amid spike in cases

Gatherings of more than 50 will be banned in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas from Tuesday, while gyms and karaoke bars be closed.

On Sunday 631 new infections were reported in one day, the highest number in nine months.

The country was widely praised for its virus response earlier this year, with aggressive testing and contact tracing.

But the authorities have struggled in recent weeks. The number of active cases in South Korea now stands at 7,873, and there are concerns about rising numbers in hospitals.

Baby born with Covid-19 antibodies in Singapore

The baby was born this month without Covid-19 but with the virus antibodies, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the mother.

"My doctor suspects I have transferred my Covid-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy," Celine Ng-Chan told the paper.

Ng-Chan had been mildly ill from the disease and was discharged from hospital after two-and-a-half weeks, the Straits Times said.

Ng-Chan and the National University Hospital (NUH), where she gave birth, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Officials to meet to review final match for Covid-stricken Fiji team

The meeting comes at the end of the quarantine period the team was placed in when 29 of the touring party tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since the first test results two weeks ago, the team has been isolating in their hotel in central France.

The team has already had three Autumn Nations Cup matches cancelled because of the outbreak, including a scheduled game against Scotland this weekend.

The final match on the planned itinerary is a consolation fixture against the fourth-placed Pool A team - which is most likely to be Georgia - on 5 December.

     

Air New Zealand crew isolating after testing positive in China

The staff member tested negative to the virus in New Zealand on 18 November but on arrival in Shanghai on 22 November returned a positive test.

Air New Zealand said the person was well and had no symptoms of Covid-19 - all other crew have returned negative results.

It said the positive case would remain in isolation while Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Health worked with Chinese authorities to bring the person home.

"Operating crew on layover in China go into a managed isolation hotel as a standard procedure.