New Zealand tourism industry has been very hard hit during the Coronavirus pandemic with plenty of hotels and resorts offering now a discount of up to 50% in the major Kiwi cities. The Covid-19 situation seems to be fully under control and New Zealand wants to restart the economy with promoting domestic travel first before they open the border again to Australia.
Featured Hotels with Discounts in Auckland
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price per night, from||Choose dates|
Cordis, Auckland by Langham Hospitality Group
Pullman Auckland Hotel & Apartments
The Grand by SkyCity
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
SkyCity Hotel Auckland
New Zealand Reports First COVID Death Since May
New Zealand has recorded its first COVID-19 death since the end of May, health officials say, bringing the country’s total death tally from the virus to 23.
In contrast, the United States continues to top the list of COVID-19 deaths with more than 186,000, and more than 6.1 million cases.
Brazil follows the U.S. with just over 4 million cases and more than 124,000 deaths.
India comes in third with nearly 4 million cases and over 68,000 deaths.
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, has been hospitalized for COVID-j19. Doctors say the 83-year-old also has been diagnosed with the early stages of double pneumonia. His condition, however, is “not a cause for concern,” his Forza Italia party said in a statement. His girlfriend, lawmaker Marta Fascina, has also contracted the virus.
Trenchcoat maker Burberry has been awarded a more than $700,000 contract to produce personal protective gear and gowns for Britain’s National Health Service. Before the contract, the iconic brand manufactured and donated more than 160,000 pieces of PPE to the NHS and healthcare charities.
US college quarantines entire student body
A college in Pennsylvania has quarantined its entire student body after 24 students tested positive for the coronavirus this week. Gettysburg College students are only allowed to leave their rooms to pick up takeout meals from campus locations, to use the bathroom and to take a coronavirus test. The small liberal arts school has about 2,500 students.
After police in Thailand arrested a man, they discovered that he had COVID-19, making the detainee the first locally transmitted case in the country in 100 days, authorities say.
UNICEF wants to co-lead vaccine allocation
The U.N. children’s agency said Thursday it would lead the world's largest and fastest procurement and distribution system for COVID-19 vaccines from dozens of makers in the next two years so that no country lacks access.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization co-lead a COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan known as COVAX.
Seventy-six wealthy nations are part of the COVAX plan, which aims to buy and provide equitable access worldwide to the inoculations for 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to a UNICEF statement.
“This is an all-hands on deck partnership between governments, manufacturers and multilateral partners to continue the high-stakes fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, said in a statement. “In our collective pursuit of a vaccine, UNICEF is leveraging its unique strengths in vaccine supply to make sure that all countries have safe, fast and equitable access to the initial doses when they are available.”
In August, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned of possible vaccine hoarding by wealthier nations, saying such actions would worsen the effects of the pandemic.
He pushed for the creation of the COVAX Global Vaccines Facility as way to share COVID-19 vaccines with developing countries. More than 170 countries have agreed to take part.
US opts out
On Wednesday, the United States said it would not participate in the global initiative because the World Health Organization is taking a leading role in the effort.
White House spokesman Judd Deere issued a statement saying the United States "will continue to engage our international partners to ensure we defeat this virus, but we will not be constrained by multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China."
President Donald Trump announced in July that he was withdrawing the United States from WHO, claiming the agency mishandled the outbreak and showed deference to China, where the virus was first detected late last year.
In addition to UNICEF and the WHO, COVAX is being supported by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which was founded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to vaccinate children in the world's poorest countries.
Twenty-eight COVID-19 makers shared production plans with UNICEF, which said in a market assessment “that manufacturers are willing to collectively produce unprecedented quantities of vaccines over the coming 1-2 years,” according to a report by Reuters news service.
The drugmakers, however, said production levels are “highly dependent” on the success of clinical trials, according to Reuters.
Amnesty highlights impact on frontline workers
Also Thursday, Amnesty International said 1,320 health workers in Mexico have died from the coronavirus pandemic, the worst for any country in the world.
Amnesty’s report highlighted the deadly toll COVID-19 has had on frontline workers. Overall, at least 7,000 health workers have died of the virus.
Mexico ranks eighth in the world with 616,894 confirmed cases, but fourth overall in deaths, with 66,329.
According to a Reuters analysis of data from the Mexican government, health care workers in that country are four times more likely to die than in the U.S.
"Many months into the pandemic, health workers are still dying at horrific rates in countries such as Mexico, Brazil and the USA," Steve Cockburn, head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, told Reuters. "There must be global cooperation to ensure all health workers are provided with adequate protective equipment, so they can continue their vital work without risking their own lives."
Brazil downplays outbreak
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak, said Thursday Brazilians will not be forced to receive a vaccination, when they become available.
Brazil on Thursday tallied more than 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is second in the world with 124,614 deaths.
"Many people want the vaccine to be applied in a coercive way, but there is no law that provides for that," Bolsonaro said in a Facebook live chat with his supporters, according to a Reuters report.
Several COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in Brazil. The government has bought 30 million doses of a vaccine that is being produced by Oxford University/AstraZeneca. Three others are in Phase 3 clinical trials from makers Sinovac Biotech of China, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen, according to Reuters.
Next 'Batman' Pattinson tests positive
Production on the latest Batman movie was halted in March as the coronavirus swept around the world. It recently resumed, but has halted again after lead actor Robert Pattinson tested positive for the virus.
Johns Hopkins University reported early Friday that there are 26.3 million global COVID cases and over 869,000 deaths.
New Zealand Mosque Shooter Gets Historic Life Sentence Without Parole
A New Zealand court has handed down a life sentence without parole to a self-avowed white supremacist who admitted to killing 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand last year.
Australian Brenton Tarrant did not speak when Christchurch High Court Judge Cameron Mander handed down the sentence Thursday on the last day of a four-day sentencing hearing. It is the first time a life sentence without parole has ever been imposed in New Zealand.
Judge Mander called Tarrant’s actions “inhuman” as he handed down the sentence and described the 29-year-old as “entirely self-absorbed.”
“You are empty of any empathy for your victims,” the judge told Tarrant.
Tarrant told the judge through his court-appointed lawyer that he did not oppose his life sentence without parole. He had dismissed his original lawyers last month.
About 90 survivors and family members of the March 15, 2019, attacks at the al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch gave victim statements during the sentencing hearings. Tarrant sat impassively as the witnesses testified in varying degrees of emotions, from red hot anger to expressions of forgiveness.
Tarrant unexpectedly pleaded guilty back in March to 51 counts of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism. Hours before carrying out the shootings, Tarrant published a long manifesto online explaining his reasonings for the attacks. He then livestreamed the attacks on Facebook, which was viewed by scores of people around the world before it was taken down.
It was the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history. The massacre led to a ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles and a new nationwide firearms registry that traces every gun in New Zealand.
New Zealand Deploys Troops to Border to Prevent COVID-19 Spread
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Wednesday the government will deploy about 500 troops at quarantine facilities and border areas to help stop the spread of COVID-19 into the nation from those who might be infected with it.
A government statement says the 500 hundred troops will bring the total number of military personnel supporting the COVID-19 response to 1,200, the largest New Zealand deployment force since the country sent troops on peace-keeping mission to Timor-Leste on a peace keeping mission in the early 2000s.
Trump's Comments on Coronavirus 'Patently Wrong', New Zealand PM Says US president asserted New Zealand was experiencing a huge surge in cases; Jacinda Ardern countered that country has seen nine cases in a day
Ardern announced the move at a Wellington news conference, saying one of the main tasks of the troops will be to replace private security guards at the highest risk facilities, “such as entry and exit points in public areas and replace them with defense force staff."
New Zealand Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported six new COVID-19 in the country Wednesday, one of which, he said, was an imported case — a woman in who arrived August 14 from Qatar. He said she has been in managed isolation at a hotel but will be moved to a quarantine facility in Auckland.
Bloomfield said the other five cases have all been linked to the current Auckland outbreak. He said there now are 125 people cases, which have been moved into the Auckland quarantine facility, including 61 people who have tested positive along with their household contacts.
New Zealand Postpones General Election After Spike in Coronavirus CasesThe election had been scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now be held on Oct. 17
New Zealand has fared far better than most countries during the pandemic, but the abrupt resurgence of COVID-19 last week in Auckland prompted the government to enforce an alert level 3 lockdown on the city's 1.7 million residents until August 26, while social distancing rules are in place in other towns and cities.
The country has had just 1,299 cases and 22 deaths.
Malaysia’s King Rejects PM’s Request to Declare State of Emergency
Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah has rejected Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s request to declare a state of emergency due to the...
European Markets Nosedive Monday as Global Coronavirus Cases Rise
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Australia’s Second-Largest City to Begin Emerging from Strict COVID-19 Lockdown
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Nigerian Citizens Justify Massive Looting of COVID-19 Supplies
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Biden Claims, Trump Denies He’s ‘Waved White Flag’ on Coronavirus
Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden is accusing the incumbent president of giving up the fight against the coronavirus, while President Donald...
WHO Director-General Warns Against Politicization of COVID-19 Pandemic
The World Health Organization Monday once again warned nations against “the politicization” of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has led...
Two Drugmakers Resume US Tests of COVID-19 Vaccines
Two drugmakers announced Friday the resumption of U.S. testing of their COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Testing of AstraZeneca's vaccine candidate had...
US Sets New Daily Record for Coronavirus Infections
The United States has set a daily record for coronavirus cases as a new surge of the virus raises fears...
Where Trump, Biden Differ on COVID as Cases Resurge
As the United States saw its highest number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, former Vice President...
Uganda Cuts Cost of COVID Test From $65 to $50
Uganda has reduced the cost of a COVID-19 test from $65 to $50, a move welcomed by truck drivers in...
Top Aide to US Vice President Pence Tests Positive for Coronavirus
A close aide to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson for the office said...
Colombia Surpasses 1 Million Coronavirus Cases
Colombia surpassed 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center ....
Italy Further Tightens Closures as Coronavirus Infections Surge
With the number of daily new infections from the coronavirus now close to 20,000, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday...
New Lockdowns in Europe Amid Coronavirus Resurgence
Spain has declared a state of emergency and enacted a new round of lockdowns countrywide as it battles a resurgence...
Australia Wants Citizens Stranded Overseas by COVID-19 Restrictions Home by Christmas
Australia is to allow more of its citizens stranded overseas by COVID-19 restrictions to return home. A weekly quota imposed...
White House: US ‘Not Going to Control the Pandemic’
With the coronavirus surging in the United States again, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows declared Sunday that the...
Who’s In Line for COVID-19 Vaccines?
The COVID-19 vaccines are coming. The question is, who gets them first? And who is next in line? Two companies...
COVID-19 ‘Right Under Control’ in Australia, Experts Say
As Australia’s most populous state eases more COVID-19 restrictions, experts say the nation has brought the epidemic “right under control.”...