COVID-19

Pacific Leadership Forum unimpressed with COVID-19 bungle

Two sisters who arrived from the UK on Sunday 7 June were granted a compassionate exemption to leave managed isolation in Auckland to visit their dying parent in Wellington.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the pair had applied for an exemption on Friday 12 June to travel on a private vehicle to the capital and it was approved the following day. The sisters drove down on the 13 June, and that night the parent died.

Spain welcomes tourists back as emergency ends

For three months Spain has been under one of Europe's toughest lockdowns to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez warned that hygiene controls must be observed strictly, despite the easing.

Spain's Covid-19 death toll stands at 28,322 - the third-highest in the EU.

The state of emergency was decreed on 14 March, and for several weeks people could not go out to exercise and children were not allowed to leave their homes for any reason.

Trump’s Tulsa rally fails to draw expected crowds amid virus fears

Mr Trump had boasted earlier this week that almost a million people had requested tickets for the event at Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center.

But the 19,000-seat arena was far from full and plans for him to address an outside "overflow" area were abandoned.

There had been concerns about holding the rally during the pandemic.

Those attending the rally had to sign a waiver protecting the Trump campaign from responsibility for any illness. Hours before the event began, officials said six staff members involved in organising the rally had tested positive.

Tonga's Prime Minister discusses repatriation preparations

He also discusses reports of a $US1.9 million dollar investment into a new security office, and the banning of mutton flaps. 

A first repatriation flight to take 50 Tongans home is expected to take place next month. In the lead up, Tu'i'onetoa says they've started running drill exercises to prepare for when the Tongans arrive.

He said those taking part will be involved on the day, including: hotel staff, the Ministry of Health, armed forces, police and emergency services.

Tu'i'onetoa will assess how smooth the transition of the first flight of citizens goes.

Guam confirms 22 more Covid-19 cases

Of those cases 180 are classified as civilians, and 42 are military service members, including the 22 confirmed by the Department of Defense on Saturday.

The government says there are 44 active cases in Guam while 173 people have been released from isolation and there have been five deaths over the course of the outbreak.

The 22 latest positive results were identified through contact tracing among service members in a unit deployed to the Andersen Air Force Base after an initial spate of cases this week. There are now 35 infected people associated with the base.

Brazil is the second country to hit a million cases

The figure, however, is believed to be higher because of insufficient testing. Only the US has had more infections.

Brazil's health ministry has confirmed 1,032,913 cases but experts say the outbreak is weeks away from its peak.

Poor communities and indigenous people have been particularly badly hit by the pandemic.

IOC and FIFA Presidents discuss situation facing sport at meeting in Lausanne

IOC President Thomas Bach met his counterpart at FIFA Gianni Infantino in person at the Olympic Museum, which reopened on Tuesday June 9, after a closure forced by the outbreak of COVID-19.

During their meeting, Presidents Bach and Infantino discussed the importance of sport during the coronavirus pandemic, and how the global situation would force sport to adapt in the short and longer term.

Infantino was elected as a member of the IOC during its 135th Session in January.

Thousands of Tongans stranded overseas by COVID-19 restrictions

The chief executive of Tonga's Ministry of Information, Paula Ma'u, said a thousand have registered for repatriation, while a thousand stranded seasonal workers are being registered by the Ministry of Internal affairs.

The first repatriation flight for 50 Tongans was being planned from New Zealand next month and Mr Ma'u said a second could take place 14 days after the first.

But he said at one flight a fortnight it could take years to repatriate everybody.

Air NZ forecasts $120m underlying loss for 2019/20 financial year

In an update on its earnings expectations, the company said the recent move to alert level 1 has enabled the airline to slowly restart the domestic network, however revenue and earnings are significantly lower than expected prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said it was now expecting an underlying operating loss of $120m.

But there are other significant one-off items which will boost the bottom line result.

The company is estimating re-structuring costs, including redundancies, will be between $140 and $160m

South Island likely to be hardest hit in Covid-19 recession - Westpac report

Westpac Bank's regional roundup says all areas of New Zealand are facing a rough recession over the rest of the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but those that rely most on international tourism, such as Otago, are likely to be particularly hard hit.

Construction activity was expected to continue to slow, while house prices were expected to fall in all parts of the country.

Wellington had the brightest outlook, supported by an increase in government spending on services.