Samoan couple in Sydney share harrowing story of Covid-19 hospitalisation

The Samoan couple, Vaitoelau and Dennis, did not think much about COVID-19, until September last year, when Dennis got infected and had to be rushed to hospital.

"He was gradually getting worse by the day, so that was really hard," Vaitoelau said.

"One time he was non responsive to anything and was in that coma for the five days like.

"My children, and I would just would just look through the iPads and just cry. We were so helpless."

Australian MP in emotional plea over religion bill

Critics says the bill enables discrimination and would allow religious schools to exclude transgender students.

Mentioning his late gay nephew, Labor MP Stephen Jones said the bill had not been thought through.

"He was just 15 when he took his own life," he told parliament.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the Religious Discrimination Bill in November, and said it will ensure protection for religious people and organisations to express beliefs and avoid "cancel culture".

Samoa borders closed to Australia, Fiji, US and high risk countries

The Updated Travel Advisory to this effect was issued by the Ministry of Health late last night.

The advisory states, “Entry is denied to all passengers from or transit through South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, , and Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Fiji, United States of America. They are NOT permitted to enter Samoa.”

The ministry is also reminding travellers that they “will be assessed on a case-by-case basis before being granted permission to travel to Samoa.”

Northern Territory has Australia's highest Covid hospitalisation rate, more admissions expected

Deakin University chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett said at New South Wales' peak, the state had roughly 3.5 patients hospitalised with coronavirus per 10,000 residents.

By comparison, she calculated the Northern Territory (NT) now had roughly 6.32 Covid-related hospitalisations per 10,000 people.

Professor Bennett said the territory's high hospitalisation wasn't altogether surprising, considering many people in the NT had a "high risk profile".

Australian PM signals reopening borders to tourists 'not far away'

Australia, which shut its borders in March of 2020, has been going through a staggered reopening in recent months, allowing in only its citizens and residents, skilled migrants, international students and certain seasonal workers.

In January, Morrison said he hoped international borders could fully reopen before Easter.

His popularity has been sliding in recent months, however, in part reflecting questions about his handling of the Omicron outbreak, and he faces pressure from a federal election that must be called by May.

Deputy keeps job despite calling Scott Morrison a liar

Mr Joyce apologised after learning that the message - sent last year and passed to a former staffer of Scott Morrison's Liberal Party - was being made public.

The text was dated 22 March, before Mr Joyce took on his current role.

Rejecting his resignation, Mr Morrison said: "We all have our frailties and none of us are perfect."

Mr Joyce, 54, told reporters on Saturday: "I want to apologise to the prime minister... I should have never written the text that I did.

Australian PM brushes off reported text exchange between Berejiklian and minister

An alleged conversation between a "senior Liberal cabinet minister" and former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian was relayed live on air by Channel Ten's political editor Peter Van Onselen yesterday.

Berejiklian reportedly described the Prime Minister as a "horrible, horrible person", with the minister responding he was a "complete psycho".

The ABC has not seen or verified the text exchange.

Berejiklian has not denied the conversation, but said yesterday she had no recollection of it.

Australia delivers 10,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Samoa

The Australian-manufactured vaccines arrived on an Australian Defence Force flight yesterday.

“Samoa shares a close partnership with Australia, and we are grateful for these vaccines at this critical time as we feel the impacts at home of this global pandemic. We urge all those who are yet to have their vaccine to get vaccinated” said Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

Victoria reports rise in hospitalisations, teen among deaths in Queensland

Of the patients in hospital, there are 122 in intensive care, 40 of whom are receiving ventilation.

The state has officially recorded 21,966 new Covid-19 infections, but the true number of new cases in the community could be much higher.

About half of the state's cases have been diagnosed using RATs, with yesterday's tally reported from 11,693 PCR results and 10,273 rapid testing kits.

Considering these figures, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was clear Covid-19 was prevalent in Victoria.

Man arrested after Australian child found dead in barrel

The victim is believed to be a nine-year-old girl who went missing from the Blue Mountains near Sydney last Thursday, local media report.

The child's body was found by officers on Tuesday during a search of bushland in a neighbouring area.

Police said a 31-year-old man had been arrested in a flat in inner Sydney and charged with murder.

He was remanded in custody to face a court on Wednesday.

Media reports said the girl - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - was on holiday with her mother when she disappeared last Thursday.