Tag Archives: Pacific

Australia Blocks Travel As New Zealand Confirms Its First New Covid-19 Case In Months | Instant News

Top line

New Zealand officials confirmed Monday’s case of the highly contagious South African variant of the coronavirus, the first cases reported outside a quarantine facility in the country in months, prompting officials to do so. trail and cutting the potential for disease transmission through communities and forcing Australia to immediately halt travel bubble-free quarantine travel.

Key facts

A 56-year-old woman tested positive for the South African variant of Covid-19 after completing a two-week quarantine period at a hotel where she tested negative twice, New Zealand officials said Monday.

This is New Zealand’s first reported case of Covid-19 in months and health minister Chris Hipkins said It is “very likely” that the woman caught the virus from other people living in the quarantine facility.

15 of the woman’s close contacts have been identified and are being contacted, said Head of Health Ashley Bloomfield, adding that her husband and hairdresser, her closest contact, had tested negative.

The confirmation prompted Australia to immediately halt the bubble of quarantine-free travel with the island nation for 72 hours, which health minister Greg Hunt said was done “out of extreme caution” given the contagious South African variant and the woman outside. Public.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was told TVNZ said that although it has confidence in New Zealand’s disease control measures, “it is Australia’s decision on how they manage their borders.”

Key Background

New Zealand is widely considered to be one of the most successful countries in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, practically eliminating transmission within its borders. According to the health ministry websiteThe last reported infections due to community transmission occurred on November 18 and Johns Hopkins University reported a total of 2,288 cases and 25 deaths across the pandemic. The figure stands in stark contrast to many other developed countries, such as the US or the UK, even when adjusted for population and that success can, in part, be attributed to the strict lockdowns imposed and the country’s geographic isolation. Having largely brought the pandemic under control at home, Ardern wanted to help other countries around the world, at one point offerings up to Biden’s New Zealand health experts transition team to share what they have learned.

Important Quote

Ardern turn off called on New Zealand to close its borders in response to the news. “You will see that there is almost no country in the world that closes its borders to its citizens,” he said, adding that it doesn’t help to blame people with Covid-19. “Sometimes there is a tendency to be blamed. The message that I really want to convey here is that the most important for us is that people who are not well get tested, “Ardern said. “And they are less likely to do that if they feel they will be attacked if they test positive.”

Further reading

New Zealand confirmed its first COVID-19 case in months, triggering a halt to Australian travel (Reuters)

New Zealand, With Covid-19 Outbreak Under Control, In Conversations With Biden As US Exceeds 12 Million Cases (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates about Coronavirus


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The first of 2000 Pacific seasonal workers arrived in New Zealand | Instant News

Important workers pick apples in an orchard near Hastings. Photo / Paul Taylor

Up to 2000 people from the Pacific region will arrive in New Zealand in the coming months to do seasonal work on orchards and farms around the country.

Samoa’s first workforce of 780 people linked to the Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme landed in Auckland yesterday.

That’s the first of four special flights organized to bring in workers from Samoa.

The other group of island nations will arrive by flight next Thursday, next Monday and Friday and will spend 14 days in managed isolation before traveling to various parts of the country to start work.

Samoa has had no reported cases of Covid since late last year and the country has not experienced community transmission of the virus.

At Samoa’s Faleolo International Airport yesterday there was a scene of joy as family and friends of those heading to New Zealand gathered to say goodbye to loved ones.

Those who take part in the RSE scheme can easily be spotted – with everyone in the group wearing Aloha shirts with island motifs in red and white.

Up to 2000 people associated with the Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme will arrive in New Zealand in the coming months.  Photos / Files
Up to 2000 people associated with the Recognized Seasonal Employment scheme will arrive in New Zealand in the coming months. Photos / Files

This arrival will be good news for many farmers and farmers who have experienced a shortage of workers – and hence rotting fruit or produce – in recent months due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

However, there are some conditions for this season – one of which is that only workers with at least one season of experience here are eligible to come.

Immigration NZ has supported officials from individual Pacific nations on the actions everyone needs to take this season; including providing a list of items to pack and what to expect in two weeks they will be isolated.

For employers, only those with an Agreement to Recruit classification can employ RSE workers from abroad.

The employer must make several “additional commitments”, as set forth by the Immigration officer.

That includes paying staff $ 22.10 per hour, providing pastoral care and ensuring workers will be employed for the full period of their visa.

The NZ High Commission in Samoa pays tribute to the nation’s close ties and ties with New Zealand; said: “We are in the same waka.”

“The RSE scheme allows for much needed income and skills flows between New Zealand and our Pacific neighbors,” said the statement posted online.

“We are very pleased the workers can return for the 2021 season.”


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Hundreds of Pacific Islands are getting bigger despite global warming | Instant News

New research says hundreds of islands in the Pacific are growing in land size, even as climate-related sea levels threaten the region.

Scientists at the University of Auckland found atolls in Pacific countries in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, as well as the Maldives archipelago in the Indian Ocean, have grown by 8 percent in the past six decades despite rising sea levels.

They say their research can help climate-prone countries adapt to future global warming.

Scientists are using satellite images of the islands as well as field analysis to track these changes.

Coastal geomorphologist Dr Paul Kench said coral reef sediments were responsible for building the islands.

Dr Kench said in areas where coral reefs were healthy, enough sediment was produced to make the islands grow.

Historical aerial images show how the coastline of Jeh has changed over the decades.(Supplied)

“The majority of the islands in each of these countries have become larger or remain very similar in size,” he said.

“So, you know, one of the great things about this job is that the islands are actually quite physically dynamic.”

Healthy coral reefs are the key to growth

Coastal erosion due to rising sea levels is considered a major threat to many Pacific communities, with some witnessing coastlines receding.

Dr Kench said about 10 percent of the islands captured in the study were getting smaller in size.

Laguna Enewetak in the Marshall Islands with a small boat capsized on the shore.
Many of the islands in the Pacific are low-lying and at risk from rising sea levels.(ABC News: Greg Nelson)

He said a better understanding of which islands are growing and which are experiencing erosion could help Pacific countries adapt to climate change.

“That gives island nations the power to think about adaptation strategies, about where you focus on further development, and you will probably select islands that we can show are really growing in size,” he said.

Dr Kench said more work needs to be done to understand other factors affecting the growth or reduction of Pacific islands.

One of the concerns is the degradation of coral reefs due to global warming.

“Even though we can see healthy sites, and the sediment production that creates the islands is still happening, there should be some concern in locations where coral reef conditions are poor,” he said.

“So we are not suggesting here with any imagination that the island should not be worried.

“I think one of the messages from the work we’re doing is that island outcomes and prognosis will vary widely from site to site.”


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China’s bid on a Pacific cable raises alarm in the US and Australia | Instant News

SYDNEY – The move by Chinese corporations to buy submarine cable projects and telecommunications companies in the Pacific islands has become a major concern for Australia and the US over the possibility of spying.

This region has long been the backyard of Canberra and Washington. But they increasingly find themselves scrambling for influence with Beijing, which has strengthened its presence there by building infrastructure.

The US has warned Pacific island nations of the security threat posed by China’s Huawei Marine bid to build a $ 72.6 million underwater cable linking the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati and Nauru, Reuters reports.

Washington sent diplomatic notes to Micronesia in July expressing strategic concerns about the project as Huawei Marine and other Chinese companies are required to cooperate with Beijing’s intelligence and security services, the report said, citing sources. He noted in a follow-up report that Republican senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio told Micronesia in a letter dated Sept. 18 that China could use its way into the project to carry out “a campaign of geopolitical espionage and coercion.”

Huawei Marine used to be under the umbrella of Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer that was subject to US sanctions, before being acquired by China’s Hengtong Group.

The East Micronesia Cable project is supported by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The bidding process ended in May and the World Bank and ADB are currently reviewing bid evaluation reports, according to sources.

Submarine cables are needed to repair the weak telecommunications infrastructure in the Pacific islands. Such equipment is important from a security point of view because of the enormous volume of data flowing through it. As Washington is in charge of Micronesia’s defense under a decades-old agreement, it appears Washington is concerned that Beijing will be able to obtain classified military and other information.

“Companies that are required to liaise with domestic government intelligence agencies and conceal such cooperation, as is the case with Chinese companies, pose a risk to the integrity and security of data traveling through submarine cable systems,” said Michael Shoebridge of Australian Strategic. Policy Institute.

Australia has removed Huawei Marine from submarine cable projects in the past. In 2018, they decided to finance the construction of an undersea cable between Sydney, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and excluded Huawei Marine, which had received orders from the Solomon Islands. And in October, that is decided to finance submarine internet cable connection to the Pacific island nation of Palau along with the US and Japan.

There is also talk of Chinese companies entering the cell phone business in the Pacific islands. Australian media reported that China Mobile is interested in acquiring the Pacific Digicel Jamaica operation.

A Digicel spokesperson confirmed to the Nikkei that telecommunications had received unsolicited approaches from a number of parties with respect to its operations in the Pacific. The spokesman declined to comment further because discussions with the parties were confidential.

Digicel is believed to control 90% of the mobile phone market in Papua New Guinea and more than half in Vanuatu and Tonga. The Australian government is considering offering financial support to local bidders surrounding Digicel’s Pacific operations to block Chinese companies from acquiring politically sensitive assets, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The South Pacific island nations have been at the forefront of the battle for dominance between the US and China, and hold geopolitical significance for Washington and its ally Canberra.

Beijing held a video conference with 10 of the region’s 14 island nations in late November. Although the topic of the meeting was the coronavirus pandemic, the joint press release issued afterwards included a sentence stating that “Pacific Island States reaffirm to uphold the principle of One China,” affirming that Taiwan is an inalienable part of one China.

The Solomon Islands and Kiribati cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in September 2019 and switched to Beijing. China has reportedly offered infrastructure support to the two countries for some time, and agreed that October to fund a stadium for the Solomon Islands.

The US and Australia fear that if Beijing builds structures in the region that can be used for military purposes, it could monitor their military activity.

A Chinese company and Papua New Guinea fisheries minister have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $ 147 million “comprehensive multi-functional fishing industry estate”, according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The location of the proposed facility is only about 200 km from the Australian coast. The possibility has drifted away from the Chinese side building a port for this business, which could further fuel tensions in the area.


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Pacific Beat: Monday – Pacific Beat | Instant News

On today’s program:

The Marshall Islands will take delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, with some 600 frontline health workers the first to be vaccinated.

The world’s smallest island nation, Niue, is pursuing a case to restore its internet domains through the Swedish legal system in hopes of claiming millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Australia’s music streaming app helps Pacific-based musicians earn royalties and promote themselves – while building legions of local music fans in the process.

And a Pacific archaeologist with a new project to uncover women who work with men who unravel the history of the region.


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