Coronavirus

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Covid pushes New Zealand into worst recession in years

The country's GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.

It is New Zealand's first recession since the global financial crisis and its worst since 1987, when the current system of measurement began.

But the government hopes its pandemic response will lead to a quick recovery.

The nation of nearly five million was briefly declared virus free, and although it still has a handful of cases, it has only had 25 deaths.

India infections top five million mark

The virus is spreading much faster in India than any other country, with daily cases crossing 90,000 for the five days up until Tuesday.

More than 80,000 people have died, amid reports of shortages of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies.

But the death rate is lower than in many countries with a high caseload.

The rise in infections comes as the government continues to lift restrictions throughout the country to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs when the virus hit in March.

Covid-19 alert level restrictions extended across New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland will remain at level 2.5 and the rest of the country at level 2.

Cabinet will review Auckland's alert level settings on Monday 21st September.

"With a view to increase gathering limits for Auckland if we are in a similar position of containing the cluster, if the change is agreed on, it will come into effect on the 23rd of September," says Ardern.

Vital equipment for COVID-19 response

     

The medical equipment are part of the ongoing support for PNG’s COVID-19 response and efforts to also help strengthen the country’s overall health system to be able to respond to future pandemics.

These essential lifesaving equipment comprising 10 ventilators donated by New Zealand government and 20 Oxygen Concentrators in collaboration with UNICEF PNG.

The 20 oxygen concentrators were sponsored by the Japanese government through the major funding support of 1.2 million US dollars or 3.6 million Kina, provided to UNICEF PNG.

People protesting against COVID-19 lockdown arrested in Melbourne

Officers said the "most significant activity" took place at the Queen Victoria Market where protesters chanting "freedom" were met with a heavy police presence.

The demonstrators at one point linked arms as they were surrounded by police officers.

Scuffles broke out as arrests were made.

A Victoria Police spokesman said there were between 200 and 250 people involved in the protest activity, and 176 were fined.

Oxford University to resume coronavirus vaccine trial after pause

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca said the studies were being paused while it investigated whether the adverse reaction was linked with the vaccine.

But on Saturday, the university said it had been deemed safe to continue.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news that the trials would resume.

"This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible," he added.

Two new Covid-19 cases reported in New Zealand today

There was no media conference today.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said both of today's new cases had an epidemiological link to an existing case and they were both associated with the bereavement events sub-cluster that was linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.

The ministry said one of the new cases is a student at Sunnyvale School in Henderson.

AstraZeneca suspends leading Covid-19 vaccine trials after a participant's illness

The vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, has been described by the World Health Organisation as probably the world's leading candidate and the most advanced in terms of development. The suspension dims prospects for an early rollout amid reports that the United States was aiming for a fast-track approval before the November presidential election.

The British drugmaker said it voluntarily paused trials to allow an independent committee to review safety data, and it was working to expedite the review to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline.

Australian family hit with huge quarantine bill to visit dying father

Mark Keans, 39, has terminal cancer and is at home in Brisbane, Queensland, while his four children are in Sydney.

Queensland authorities have refused repeated pleas to grant an exemption to tough Covid-19 travel restrictions.

More than A$200,000 has now been raised after the case caused outrage.

Australia has implemented extremely tough travel restrictions to control Covid-19, including on movement between the country's states and territories.

Mr Keans was initially told he needed to choose just one child who would be permitted to see him.

France sets daily record with almost 10,000 new cases

Health authorities reported 9,843 new confirmed Covid-19 cases on Thursday, surpassing the previous daily record by almost 900.

The figures were released on the eve of a key meeting of ministers and health experts about toughening measures.

France has the seventh-highest Covid-19 death toll in the world.

More than 30,800 people in the country have died of coronavirus.