New Zealand

25 more deaths, 6862 community cases reported in NZ today

In its latest update, the Ministry said in a statement that 350 people with the virus were in hospital, including 10 in intensive care. This compared with 355 hospital cases and 12 in ICU yesterday.

One of the 25 new deaths reported today was a person aged in the 30s, with three people in their 40s. There were also four people in the 50s, two in their 60s, four in their 70s, six in their 80s and five aged over 90.

11 further deaths, new Omicron subvariant in community in NZ

It comes as another 11 people have died with Covid-19 and another 8150 new community cases have been detected.

The subvariant was detected in the Hawke's Bay from a test returned on 10 May.

"This Omicron subvariant is prevalent in the USA and has been detected at our border for many weeks - there have been 29 imported cases reported since April, so its movement into the community is not unexpected," the ministry said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tests positive for Covid-19

Her daughter Neve tested positive on Wednesday, she added in the post. Her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive on Sunday.

"Despite best efforts, unfortunately I've joined the rest of my family and tested positive for Covid-19," Ardern wrote on social media.

Ardern has been symptomatic since Friday night, according to a statement, and has "moderate" symptoms. She returned a weak positive Friday night and a clear positive this morning on a RAT test.

Ardern will be required to isolate until the morning of Saturday 21 May.

New Zealand border reopening fully from end of July

It comes with a range of other immigration announcements, including sector-specific agreements to support a shift away from low-skilled migrant labour, and a new 'Green list' of 85 hard-to-fill high-skill roles that provides a priority pathway to residency.

Visas for some 20,000 migrants already in the country are also being extended, and there will be new restrictions on students being able to work.

New Zealand surpasses 1 million Covid-19 cases since pandemic began

It comes as the ministry reports another 9173 new cases and 14 deaths today.

This time last year, the total of cases reported in New Zealand was 2288, the ministry said.

"New Zealanders' collective response to Covid-19 helped us to keep our case numbers low, especially in that first year when the virus was rampant internationally," it said.

In its latest update today, the ministry said 385 people were in hospital with the virus - compared with 368 people in its previous update yesterday. There were 13 people in ICU.

New Pacific Labour list MP to deliver maiden speech in NZ Parliament tonight

Lemauga joined the Labour Party in 2000 and was the highest-ranked Labour List candidate who was not elected at the 2020 election.

She joins the largest ever Pacific caucus in Aotearoa’s Parliamentary history, with a total of 11 members of Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Tokelauan descent.

Born and raised in South Auckland, Lemauga is known for being a strong advocate for Pacific communities. During her 12 year background in local body affairs, she was elected to the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board in 2010 and spent the last 9 years as Chair.

Seven deaths, 6636 new cases in New Zealand

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said 480 people were in hospital, including 12 in ICU.

Monday’s rolling seven day average of new Covid-19 cases is 7553. Last Monday it was 8355.

A second person who has travelled from overseas to New Zealand has been confirmed as having the BA.4 variant of Omicron.

Both identified cases were isolating at their homes, the ministry said.

BA.4 has also far been reported in southern Africa and Europe, and in New South Wales. The ministry said the arrival of the sub-variant in New Zealand was not unexpected.

New Zealand border reopens to international visitors tonight

On 19 March 2020 New Zealand snapped its border shut to anyone without citizenship or residency, before any Covid-19-related deaths were recorded.

It was the first time in our history such a move was made, with the ban also including those from the Pacific.

Today, the countdown is on to welcome back vaccinated visitors from visa waiver countries.

New Zealand's already reopened the border to vaccinated Australians and some international students.

Samoan academic creating 'safe cultural research space' for 'burdened' Pacific Rainbow+ communities

The Manalagi project is New Zealand's first-ever Pacific Rainbow+ Health and Wellbeing project and creates a safe cultural research space for Pacific Rainbow+ communities to communicate their unique health and wellbeing needs.

Manalagi principal investigator, Seuta‘afili Dr Patrick Saulmatino Thomsen, says the research allows the Rainbow community to be ok with who they are.

“Manalagi is about allowing ourselves to look to the heavens.

Ardern defends Russian ambassador's presence in New Zealand

New Zealand has targeted sanctions against Russian oligarchs and their families, with 36 individuals added to the list overnight.

Ardern said reports of Ukraine civilians who had been killed, raped and severely wounded by Russian troops were "beyond reprehensible".

"Russia must answer to the world for what they've done. It goes without saying that these atrocities are against international law.