Australia

US and allies promise one billion jabs for South East Asia

The joint commitment was made following the first leaders' meeting of the so-called Quad - a group formed in 2007.

The vaccines - expected to be the single-dose Johnson & Johnson product - are set to be manufactured in India.

The US said the "massive joint commitment" would initially focus on delivering doses to South East Asia.

Australia's Seven West Media strikes deal with Google for news

At an earnings announcement, Seven, which owns a free-to-air television network and the main metro newspaper in the city of Perth, said it would supply content for Google's News Showcase platform. It did not disclose terms.

The deal shows Seven splitting from rivals News Corp and Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd which have failed to reach agreements with Google and instead backed laws, set to be passed this week, where the government sets the online giant's content fees in the absence of a private deal.

Australia stops quarantine-free travel for New Zealand after Covid-19 cases

The trans-Tasman bubble was set up so people could fly from New Zealand to Australia without needing to spend 14 days in a hotel.

However, Australia's expert medical panel made a decision late on Sunday night to change the system.

It means any New Zealanders that fly into Australia from Monday will have to spend a fortnight in hotel quarantine.

The new rule will remain in place for the next three days before the situation is reassessed.

Australia-New Zealand travel bubble reopens

The travel arrangements were paused after a Kiwi woman infected with the highly contagious South African variant of Covid-19 travelled to about 30 locations in New Zealand before testing positive.

The initial 72-hour suspension was extended on Thursday, but flights will now recommence this afternoon.

There were no new community cases reported in New Zealand today.

Australia suspends travel bubble with NZ for 72 hours

All New Zealanders who arrive in Australia will have to quarantine for up to 14 days.

Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt says this has been done "out of an abundance of caution" after a person tested positive in New Zealand with the South African variant.

The infected person visited at least 30 locations.

The changes come into effect immediately.

All passengers from New Zealand with a safe zone flight scheduled in the next 72 hours should reconsider their need to travel.

Google threatens to withdraw search engine from Australia

Australia is introducing a world-first law to make Google, Facebook and potentially other tech companies pay media outlets for their news content.

But the US firms have fought back, warning the law would make them withdraw some of their services.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said lawmakers would not yield to "threats".

Australia is far from Google's largest market, but the proposed news code is seen as a possible global test case for how governments could seek to regulate big tech firms.

Captain Kohli, PM Modi lead tributes to Indian cricketers

Kohli had returned home to attend the birth of his daughter after the opening test loss, leaving behind a deflated side who were skittled out for 36 in Adelaide - their lowest innings score in 88 years of test cricket.

Under stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, India levelled the series in Melbourne and drew in Sydney before triumphing in Brisbane to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

"WHAT A WIN!!! Yessssss. To everyone who doubted us after Adelaide, stand up and take notice," Kohli tweeted after India's three-wicket victory at the Gabba.

Australia rebukes Google for blocking local content

After media reports said Australian news websites were not showing up in searches, Google confirmed it was blocking the sites for a small number of users.

The search engine said it was conducting experiments to determine the value of its service to Australian news outlets.

Google, Facebook and other tech companies are fighting the Australian government over plans to make them pay for news content.

Google said the tests affect about 1% of Australian users, and will be finished by February.

Brisbane lockdown to be lifted at 6:00pm but some restrictions to remain

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it had been a "great effort" by Queenslanders over the past three days.

"This is the best news we could have hoped for, absolutely the best news," Ms Palaszczuk.

ABC News reports no cases were reported since 6:00pm on Friday, when Queensland authorities imposed a snap lockdown to slow the potential spread of a UK coronavirus variant.

The highly contagious strain was detected in a cleaner who spent five days in the community in early January after contracting the virus at Brisbane quarantine hotel.

Australia to begin mass vaccinations in February

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said regulators were now expected to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of January.

He announced the plans on Thursday as the cities of Sydney and Melbourne battled to control new clusters.

By March, four million Australians could be vaccinated, he said.

"We are now in a position where believe we will be able to commence vaccinations in mid-to-late February," Mr Morrison said.

Following regulatory approval, the first of the country's order of 10 million Pfizer vaccine doses should be issued in a matter of weeks.