COVID-19 pandemic

Those who lost relatives to Covid-19 in China angry at failure to protect elderly

While her father was never tested, Ailia and her mother were both confirmed positive around the same time and she believes Covid-19 was a cause in his death.

As hundreds of millions of Chinese travel to reunite with families for the Lunar New Year holiday starting 21 January, many will do so after mourning relatives who died in the Covid-19 wave that has raged across the world's largest population.

Emotional reunions expected as Samoa's borders reopen on Monday

Hundreds of people have booked flights in the first two weeks of August and there is strong demand right through to the school holidays and Christmas season, Air NZ's Karen Gatt said.

NZ Herald reports borders will open on Monday, but the first flight - Air New Zealand NZ990 - will touch down at Faleolo International Airport the next day.

“Next Tuesday will be a significant day for the community here. I expect there will be lots of emotional welcomes and smiles at the airport,” she said.

Nurse reunites with her family after 42 days of separation

Tiara Tuulua, a mother of two was working extra hours and camping at the hospital since 20 March 2022.

In a Facebook post Tuula said, “Every journey comes to an end.”

“On the 18th of March 2022 a community outbreak of COVID in Samoa. From then, it was my last time seeing my family.

“Today mark 42 days (6 weeks) since I have been away from my kids and family so I decided to visit my family especially my dearest children they have been waiting for 42 days.”

WHO plans to end acute phase of pandemic, despite cases flaring in the Pacific

WHO's South Pacific representative Dr Mark Jacobs said the plan will help countries to move on from the emergency phase of Covid-19, to a phase of managing it "like an ongoing issue".

"In the Pacific, it's been about working with countries, and along with partners, to help build their capacity to manage Covid into the future," he said.

The plan talks about three different possible scenarios, one of those being the virus continues to evolve into new variants.

"The severity of it will go down over time, as immunity increases because of vaccination," Dr Jacobs said.

Amoa Resort takes Covid-19 precautionary measures to the next level

Amoa Resort Manager, Elizabeth Siaosi said they initially purchased thermometers to check temperatures, masks, hand sanitisers, computer hardware and other items to respond to the virus.

On arrival at the resort, staff check visitors’ temperature and vaccination card.

“Prior to Covid there was measles and our response is a human response and first is to protect our staff and guests and since measles we’ve all had masks and hand sanitizers and gloves and we feel that people who are travelling they want to see the same mirrored back to them,” Siaosi said.

Europe entering Covid pandemic 'ceasefire', says WHO

Dr Hans Kluge cited high vaccination rates, the end of winter and the less severe nature of the Omicron variant.

Speaking to reporters, he said: "This period of higher protection should be seen as a 'ceasefire' that could bring us enduring peace."

It comes as a number of European nations end Covid-19 restrictions.

Dr Kluge said some 12 million new virus cases were detected across Europe last week - the highest recorded - but officials have not seen a significant spike in those needing critical hospital care.

No positives for Samoa's tourism industry in 2019-2020

This was outlined in the Samoa Tourism Authority's annual report for financial year 2020.

A major concern is the industry's existing loans turning into non-performing loans of more than WST$200 million.

Financial year 2020 is arguably the most challenging to date for the Samoa Tourism Authority with overall visitor expenditures decreasing and declined.

The report said the total credit to the private sector as reported is approximately WST$2.02 billion at end of December 2019 with at least 13 percent or WST$260 million outstanding debts for tourism businesses.

Samoa extends State of Emergency

Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II signed into law the amendment to the State of Emergency orders.

The new orders include an exemption for forensic pathologist and morgue technician – who will be exempt from quarantine requirements following approval by the Cabinet – confirming that the Government is considering bringing in another pathologist and morgue technician.

Pandemic presents big challenges for Pacific seasonal workers

New Zealand has a new one-way travel bubble with Pacific island countries such as Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Vaccinated RSE workers from these countries can come to New Zealand without self-isolating or taking Covid-19 tests on arrival, after the one-way quarantine-free travel took effect last week.

Up to 5,000 workers are needed across the horticulture and viticulture industries during peak summer season in December and January.

The usual supply of backpackers to New Zealand's recognised seasonal workers scheme remains cut off due to Covid-19 border restrictions.

Covid-19 deaths pass five million worldwide

Vaccines have slowed the death rate, but some health experts say the true toll could be far higher.

The milestone comes amid warnings from health officials that cases and deaths in some places are rising for the first time in months.

Nearly 250 million cases of the virus have been recorded worldwide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the pandemic's real global death toll could be two to three times higher than official records.

In the US, more than 745,800 people have died, making it the country with the highest number of recorded deaths.