'Covid-19 doesn't discriminate, and neither should we' - Komiti Pasefika

Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath, co-head of the School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, is a specialist in mental health and well-being among Pacific people.

Tiatia-Seath urged Pacific people to check-in on family, friends, colleagues, students as it was important during these extraordinary times.

"Through my work around suicide prevention, it has always been a key message to check in on each other and that was born from siblings checking in on each other once they have lost a loved on to suicide."

Covid testing will not lead to penalties for invalid visa holders - NZ govt

Hundreds of seasonal workers have been stranded in New Zealand over recent months, some with expiring visas.

Pacific leaders had already raised concern about those with uncertain immigration status missing out on assistance or healthcare because of fear of being discovered.

However the minister, Chris Hipkins, encouraged them to get tested for Covid-19 if they needed to.

"We will not use the information collected through the Covid-19 testing process for other purposes, including for immigration purposes," Mr Hipkins said.

Coronavirus-hit Qantas posts $2bn annual loss

The Australian flag carrier's boss says trading conditions are the worst in the airline's 100-year history.

The firm also says around 4,000 of its 6,000 planned job cuts are expected to be finalised by the end of next month.

The global airline industry has been hit hard as travel restrictions have been imposed around the world.

"The impact of Covid on all airlines is clear. It's devastating and it will be a question of survival for many," Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

"Recovery will take time and it will be choppy," he added.

Six new cases of Covid-19 in NZ today - five in community, one imported case

Five are in the community and related to the Auckland cluster and one is an imported case.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says the imported case is a woman in her 50s who arrived on 14 August and has been in the Sudima Hotel.

He says there are five people in hospital, one in Auckland City and one in Middlemore.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there are no additional cases related to the Rydges Hotel maintenance worker who tested positive for Covid-19.

That brings the total number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand to 1299.

Victoria Covid-19: Almost all cases linked to quarantine hotels

The inquiry also heard guards at quarantine hotels were given "inappropriate" training advice.

Australian media report that guards were told masks and other protection would not be necessary, as long as they adhered to 1.5m social distancing.

Victoria is currently in lockdown because of a second wave of infections.

Stricter "stage four" restrictions were put in place in the city of Melbourne on 2 August for six weeks.

Seven new cases of COVID-19 in the community in NZ today

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said there were no new cases to report from managed isolation.

The one new case that remains under investigation is in addition to the one case yesterday that is being investigated.

"But in both cases we feel quite confident that they will be linked to the outbreak."

He said 54 people linked to the cluster have been moved to a quarantine facility, including 24 of the people who have tested positive.

The seven new cases reported today bring the total number of confirmed cases to 1258.

Coronavirus: Australia encouraged by drop in new COVID-19 cases

Official data on Thursday showed there were 292 new infections in the past 24 hours, down from 428 on Wednesday.

It is the lowest daily total since 20 July. Victoria had by far the most infections - 278. Its capital Melbourne began its shutdown on 3 August.

Health Minister Greg Hunt voiced cautious optimism about the new data.

"We now believe, cautiously, that we have early signs of the flattening of the curve," he said.

Tonga prepares for second NZ repatriation flight

The NEMC also discussed a few process concerns as members are now anticipated to bring the second repatriation flight from New Zealand later this month.

The Chairman of the NEMC, Poasi Tei acknowledged the NEMC members and staff for the hard work in bringing back the first 150 repatriated passengers from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank all of you for the work well done and your tireless support to bring back our first 150 passengers from NZ and also the safety of our people. Even though there were challenges but it all went well in the end.”

Queensland to close borders to NSW and ACT

It comes as the state recorded one new case of coronavirus overnight.

The 68-year-old Queensland woman was diagnosed with the virus in the past 24 hours and authorities are still investigating the source of the infection.

Two historic cases have also been added to the state's total of 1,088 cases.

The hotspot declaration means anyone travelling from NSW or the nation's capital will soon be banned from entering the Sunshine State.

Queenslanders who return after travelling there will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Victoria posts record 725 new coronavirus cases, 15 deaths

There are 13,005 cumulative cases in Victoria, with 12 of the 15 deaths were associated with aged care.

The deaths were:

One male in his 30s

Three males and one female in their 70s

Three males, three females in their 80s

Three males, one female in their 90s

There are 538 people in hospital and 42 of those people are receiving intensive care.

There are 7227 total active cases and total active cases with a connection to aged care are some 1435.