COVID-19

Bougainville's Buka goes into Covid lockdown

He said the last official figures for Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville were 40 cases of the coronavrius - a rise from just three last Thursday.

Toroama said Bougainville's health officials had been trying to convince people to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain social distance.

There had been criticism of Bougainvilleans failing to respond to the Covid-19 surge but Toroama said Buka town would now go into a full, 14-day, lock down.

TVNZ doubles profit and repays $4.9m in wage subsidies

Revenues slipped $3m to $175m due to a drop in advertising.

But the state-owned broadcaster said it experienced “positive audience and revenue momentum” in the final quarter of last year which had continued into the new year.

Because of that, it expected to “significantly exceed” its financial forecasts for the full year to the end of June.

The company’s profit was up from just under $16m in the same period in 2019, thanks to a $33m drop in costs, almost three-quarters of which was attributable to lower spending on content because of Covid.

New positive community case of Covid 19, Ministry of Health confirms

During this afternoon's 1pm press conference, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the new community case was a student at Papatoetoe High School.

The school now remains closed until further notice.

The person is considered a casual-plus contact who had been advised to self-isolate and get tested, the ministry said in a statement earlier today.

Hipkins said the student had not returned to school on Monday. The case was picked up by testing of all students and staff before they were able to return to school.

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.

Australian Open fans criticised for 'booing vaccine'

The booing happened during an awards ceremony after the men's final, when a tennis official referred to global vaccine efforts as a sign of optimism.

It comes just as Australia begins its national inoculation programme.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack called the crowd's behaviour "disgusting".

"I don't like booing at any event, and certainly any sporting event," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"This vaccine is going to get our country back to some sort of pre-Covid normality," he said.

Auckland to drop to alert level 2 at midnight

There is one exception to the alert levels: Papatoetoe High School. Students and their families are being asked to stay home, and return a negative Covid-19 test before returning to school on Monday.

"As ever, if you are sick, please stay home," Ardern said. "This continues to be one of our most important restrictions."

She said Cabinet will review the alert levels again on Monday.

Gordon Ramsay 'needed room to breathe' on new game show

But while lockdown continues to have a devastating impact on the hospitality sector, the chef and TV personality has at least managed to find one silver lining.

"Well, I haven't missed the food critics! But never doubt, those [haters] will be coming back," he laughs, using a rather stronger word than that.

Like most restaurant owners, Ramsay has had a rough year. His group, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, operates 35 eateries around the world. Most of those remain shut, including 18 in the UK.

Remittances up in Samoa during pandemic

The Samoa Observer newspaper reported that a December Central Bank of Samoa report indicated tourism earnings remained at zero.

However remittances increased by 0.3 percent compared to December 2019, to over $US22.6 million.

There was also an increase of around $US4.2 million over November 2019 remittances.

American Samoa remittances increased the most, followed by New Zealand and then Australia.

Total private remittances in the first six months of 2020/21 increased by 13.3 percent.

700 displaced tourism workers benefit from Samoa Government’s stimulus package

The Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) continues to implement the SAT$1million Phase II of package by conducting a capacity building and development programme through training courses.

As the leading implementing agency, the Authority has been working in partnership with the National University of Samoa (NUS), Samoa Business Hub (SBH), and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) as service providers to implement these courses which are accredited locally and also Australian accredited, and are recognised internationally for employment.

Snap coronavirus lockdown for Victoria as Holiday Inn outbreak grows

From 11:59pm tonight, all of Victoria will return to stage four lockdown restrictions, meaning there are only four main reasons to leave the home: shopping for essential supplies, care and caregiving, exercise and essential work.

Exercise and shopping will be limited to within 5 kilometres of the home.

Face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors and no visitors will be allowed in homes.