New Zealand

PM makes alert level announcement for Auckland

Cabinet met this afternoon to decide whether the risk of Covid-19 spreading has diminished enough for Auckland to move to alert level 1.

Eight cases that had recently emerged had all been linked and close contacts of the mother of a family at the centre of the outbreak had all produced negative results, she said.

Cabinet had decided to make face coverings mandatory in all public transport across NZ at levels one and two.

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.

New Zealand's first Covid-19 vaccine given provisional approval

It comes after a robust assessment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s safety, effectiveness and quality by medicines regulator Medsafe.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says the first phase of rolling out the vaccine can now begin.

“Following Medsafe’s approval, Ministry of Health officials will give advice to the Government this week about the ‘decision to use’ the vaccine. This will essentially set out who are most suited to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, such as age ranges.”

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.

New Zealand reports first case in the community in months

Health officials said a 56-year-old woman who had recently returned from Europe tested positive days after completing a compulsory two-week period of managed isolation.

Contact tracing efforts are under way, and authorities have published a list of locations the woman visited.

New Zealand has been widely praised for its response to the pandemic.

The country, with a population of five million, has recorded 1,927 confirmed cases and 25 deaths over the course of the pandemic.

New Zealand implements additional measures to keep Covid-19 out

Amendments to Air Border Order include:

NZ reports 19 new imported cases in past three days

In its first release of numbers in 2021, the Health Ministry said in a statement that the total number of active cases is 72.

The Ministry also confirmed that the new cases included six which matched the UK variant of Covid-19 known as 20B/501Y.V1 (Lineage B.1.1.7).

New Zealand sex worker given six-figure sum in sexual harassment case

The sum is part of a settlement to compensate the woman for "emotional harm and lost earnings", said the human rights body that represented her.

The case served as a reminder that all workers have the right to freedom from sexual harassment at work, it added.

New Zealand passed a law decriminalising sex work in 2003.

The details of the proceedings, including the identities of those involved, is confidential.

But the settlement announced on Monday was viewed as an important milestone for sex workers' rights.

New Zealand farmers prepare to export 'best cannabis in the world'

The first seedlings are now in the ground along the salt-laden and sunny slopes of Kēkerengū - just north of Kaikōura.

The ocean-side plantation run by research and development and cultivation company Puro will eventually cover the equivalent of 10 rugby fields.

Fresh out of quarantine, US-based cultivation technician Max Jablonski was last Friday focused on planting the prized seedlings into freshly furrowed, chocolate coloured soil.