Australia & Pacifics

Australia: Queensland locks out people from virus spots in Victoria

Canberra, Jul 9 (AP/PTI) An Australian state has closed its doors to people fleeing a second lockdown in Australia's second-largest city.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said on Thursday that a number of people were willing to pay for their own 14-day hotel quarantine to be allowed to escape Melbourne and other parts of Victoria state that began a six-week shutdown Wednesday because of an expanding coronavirus outbreak.

Australia ends Hong Kong extradition treaty, extends visas

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents in response to China’s imposition of a tough national security law on the semi-autonomous territory, the prime minister said Thursday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a range of visas that will be extended from two to five years and offers of pathways to permanent residency visas. It is not clear how many Hong Kongers are expected to get the extensions.

Australia’s 2nd largest city foils nation’s pandemic success

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia has been among the world’s most successful countries in containing its coronavirus outbreak — with one exception.

The southeastern state of Victoria had some of the nation’s toughest pandemic measures and was among the most reluctant to lift its restrictions when the worst of its outbreak seemed to have passed.

Australia closes state border for first time in 100 years after COVID-19 spike

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The border between Australia’s two most populous states will close from Tuesday for an indefinite period as authorities scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne.

The decision announced on Monday marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

New Zealand's Ardern launches election campaign with promises of jobs, financing

(Reuters) - With promises of extra financing for small businesses and more jobs as a severe economic downturn looms, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday launched her party’s campaign ahead of September general election.

Ardern’s rise to become New Zealand’s most popular prime minister in a century, buoyed by her response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left the country largely unscathed, has boosted her prospects in the Sept. 19 election.

Australians widen protests backing Black Lives Matter, indigenous people

(Reuters) - Thousands gathered in Sydney and other Australian cities over the weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and an increased focus of the mistreatment of indigenous people.

A month since Australia’s first such rallies, the crowds were smaller amid health warnings about the spread of the coronavirus, as infections grow in the state of Victoria, home to Melbourne, the second-largest city.

New Zealand Health Minister Resigns Amid Criticism Of Dereliction Of Duty

WELLINGTON, July 2 (NNN-BERNAMA) – New Zealand Minister for Health, David Clark, announced today, he decided to resign as a minister and leave the cabinet.

The surprise announcement came, amid months of public outcry on Clark’s dereliction of duty during and after the COVID-19 lock-down.

Clark planned to attend a ribbon-cutting event in Palmerston North, for a cancer facility, but made the surprise announcement at a press conference this morning.

Australia to lock down 300,000 in Melbourne suburbs after coronavirus spike

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Authorities will lock down more than 300,000 people in suburbs north of Melbourne for a month from late on Wednesday to contain the risk of infection after two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases in Australia’s second most populous state.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases, but the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries.

New Zealand cancels 2021 APEC summit, will lead it virtually

Wellington, Jun 30 (AP/PTI) New Zealand on Tuesday canceled its plans to host a major meeting of U.S. and Asian leaders next year because of the coronavirus, opting instead to lead a virtual summit.

New Zealand was scheduled to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Auckland. The event would have brought thousands of people to the country throughout the year, culminating in a leader's week in November 2021.

New Zealand cancels 2021 APEC summit, will lead it virtually

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand on Tuesday canceled its plans to host a major meeting of U.S. and Asian leaders next year because of the coronavirus, opting instead to lead a virtual summit.

New Zealand was scheduled to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Auckland. The event would have brought thousands of people to the country throughout the year, culminating in a leader’s week in November 2021.

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