Omicron probably in most countries, WHO says

Cases of the heavily mutated variant have been confirmed in 77 countries.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was probably in many others that had yet to detect it, and was spreading at an unprecedented rate.

Dr Tedros said he was concerned that Omicron was being underestimated.

"Surely, we have learned by now that we underestimate this virus at our peril. Even if Omicron does cause less severe disease, the sheer number of cases could once again overwhelm unprepared health systems," he said.

New NZ fund to help Pacific nations recover from Covid-19

"They're prioritising coordinating with the Pacific region - particularly Māori and Pasifika - as a key to maintaining an indigenous focus," she said.

Government officials plan to go to market early next year to speak with those interested in managing the fund.

New Zealand's Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Phil Twyford said if things remain on track, investments for projects will made by the end of next year.

Gazelle Implements COVID Strategies

Gazelle District Administrator, Hubert Wangun said the satellite markets were sanctioned by the Provincial Executive Council, recently with strict control and adherence to the Niupela Pasin protocols.

He said the satellite markets are funded under the COVID-19 funding and encouraged ward councilors, ward development committees and locals to take the lead in this.

French Polynesia vaccination law endorsed by Paris court

Anyone working in healthcare or with the public has to be vaccinated against Covid-19 according to the law adopted in late August.

However, there have been several legal challenges, which prompted the government to defer the law's enforcement from October to December.

An interim ruling had affirmed the law's validity but now the Paris court has given its full approval, which has been welcomed by the government.

A general strike last month failed to get the government to drop the law, which will now be applied from 23 January.

Economic Growth Steady

The economy is dominated by the resources, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors. 

While most of PNG’s labour force is employed in the agricultural sector (largely informally), the vast majority of its export earnings are through the resources sector. 
PNG’s economy is driven largely by the resource sector with the major export commodities being gold and LNG, together comprising over 80% of total oil and gas and mineral export value (70% of total export value including non-mineral). 

New vaccine programme aims to reach 100 thousand Pacific kids

The three-year programme, which is part of a partnership between the charity Rotary and UNICEF, the UN children's agency, involves delivering vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease, while teenage girls will also be immunised to protect them from cervical cancer.


The vaccine rollout will run in Nauru, as well as Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue and Palau.


Work has started in Nauru, where Mizuli Apadinuwe's 14-year old daughter received the human papillomavirus vaccine that protects against cervical cancer.


Germany, US plan new Covid-19 restrictions as Omicron spreads

With countries including the United States, India and France reporting their first Omicron cases, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she hoped the pandemic would not completely stifle economic activity.

"There's a lot of uncertainty, but it could cause significant problems. We're still evaluating that," she told the Reuters Next conference.

The new measures in Germany focus on the unvaccinated, who will only be allowed in essential businesses such as grocery stores and pharmacies, while legislation to make vaccination mandatory will be drafted for early next year.

First data points to Omicron re-infection risk

Scientists have detected a surge in the number of people catching Covid-19 multiple times.

It is a rapid analysis and not definitive, but fits with concern about the mutations the variant possesses.

It is also unclear what this means for the protection given by vaccines.

A week after the variant was named Omicron, the world is still scrambling to understand the true threat posed by the variant. But now the first of pieces of a large and complex puzzle are starting to be assembled.

India reports first cases of new Covid variant

The men, who are 66 years and 46 years old, are currently under observation, a government spokesperson said.

These are the first cases of the new Omicron variant to be reported in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that Omicron poses a "high infection risk".

Officials said all primary contacts and secondary contacts of the two men have been traced and are being tested as well.

Manning Cautions On Omicron Information

Mr Manning said the Government has preparations in place to deploy a rapid response to the new threat, drawing from lessons learned during the recent spread of the Delta variant around the country.

While scientists continue their investigation into the new variant, the Controller said people around the country must be patient and ready to respond.