Tag Archives: Pacific

Australia will supply doses of the domestically produced COVID-19 vaccine to Melanesian countries, including PNG and Timor-Leste | Instant News

The federal government has promised to start distributing more COVID-19 vaccines to Pacific Island countries later this month as Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste battle a major outbreak.

A government spokesman told the ABC that 10,000 doses of AstraZeneca produced locally will be sent to the region every week, starting April 19.

That figure will increase over time as Australia increases its production capacity at the CSL factory in Melbourne.

The announcement was marked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday afternoon.

The government will prioritize Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, which are grappling with the rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19.

After that, the government will focus on sending more vaccines to other Melanesian countries, including Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji.

The government had previously said it would send vaccines to Polynesian countries, although it was unclear when the launch would reach those countries.

Several Pacific Island countries – including Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste – have also started dosing vaccination programs from the COVAX facility.

Papua New Guinea will receive more than 130,000 vaccines from COVAX next week.

But officials remain deeply concerned about the widespread spread of COVID-19 in the country, where there is widespread community transmission.

PNG briefly halted the rollout of 8,000 Australian-donated vaccines on Friday while authorities updated consent forms in response to changing Australian advice on using AstraZeneca for people under 50.

Vaccinations had resumed on Friday afternoon and PNG officials said the launch would continue over the weekend.

A person in full PPE leaned against the van window.
Medical professionals in Papua New Guinea are increasingly pressured by conspiracy theories directed at their profession.(

Provided: Matt Cannon, CEO of St John’s Ambulance in PNG


“We will continue to launch AstraZeneca vaccinations to ensure our people are safe and that is the main thing. AstraZeneca is here to ensure that COVID-19 is contained,” Health Minister Jelta Wong told ABC.

However, PNG officials stressed that they will continue to roll out the vaccine over the weekend.

Australia also flew a second emergency medical team to Papua New Guinea on Friday, along with additional medical supplies.

Aid groups have welcomed support for PNG, as well as government pledges to launch a vaccine in other Melanesian countries.

“The Australian government is supporting our friends in PNG. This is another important step towards tackling the epidemic,” said the head of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell.

ACFID continues to pressure the government to increase its efforts to combat COVID-19 in the region, citing a poll which found that 84 percent of Australians support measures to stop the spread of the virus in Papua New Guinea.


image source

New Zealand is ‘very confident’ of the Pacific team in Super Rugby in 2022 | Instant News

WELLINGTON: Rugby New Zealand is “absolutely confident” of adding a Pacific team to Super Rugby in time for the 2022 season despite concerns over their financial viability, a senior NZR official said Thursday (March 25).

World Rugby said on Wednesday it would spend £ 1.2 million (US $ 1.64 million) annually for three years to help facilitate Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika’s entry into the competition, subject to NZR Council approval and key conditions being met.

“We are absolutely convinced. We are not there yet but we have been working very hard with both entities for more than six months now,” NZR head of rugby professional Chris Lendrum told reporters.

“These are two serious attempts by two very serious teams and very serious national unity here in NZ to form these two teams.

“So there is still work to be done, finances cannot be collected overnight.

“But we remain very positive and can do in terms of their stance for next year.”

The Fijian Drua, launched in 2017, competed in the lower-level Australian National Rugby Championship and won the title in 2018.

Moana Pasifika’s invited squad were beaten 28-21 by the Maori All Blacks in one match last year.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic ended global Super Rugby competition in 2020, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have launched their own domestic versions.

New Zealand hopes the Australian Super Rugby team will join their competition in 2022, although the sports governing bodies in each country clashed over the format last year.

Lendrum said Australian Rugby (RA) needed to be part of the competition and behind Pacific plans in order to succeed.

“Of course the plan is one competition and we are working on it with our Australian Rugby partners as we speak,” said Lendrum.

“Hopefully in the next few weeks we can make a confirmation.”

RA declined to comment on future plans for Super Rugby, or whether they supported a Pacific team entry, when contacted by Reuters.

Lendrum said it was “potentially sustainable” for Fijian Drua to be based in Fiji but Moana Pasifika, which will consist of players from Tonga and Samoa, is likely to operate in New Zealand.

“The main condition is and always has been financial sustainability,” he said.

“Ultimately, this is a sport but also a business. And these two teams must be able to portray that they are able to stand on their own two feet and provide income that will allow them to bring down the competitive side that adds value to the competition.”


image source

Rugby: New Zealand is looking for super Inspiration for grounded juniors | Instant News

REUTERS: New Zealand hopes a Super Rugby-style domestic tournament for the country’s top young players will pave the way for international matches against the nations of Australia and the Pacific after cross-border competitions at the junior level are crushed by COVID-19.

While professional and rugby testing have bounced back after the disruptions in 2020, junior competition remains effectively suspended, clogging the main route for young talent to senior level.

The Under-20 World Rugby Championship, scheduled for the middle of the year in Italy, was canceled last month for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

With junior rugby remaining a domestic affair for the time being, New Zealand will host a week-long “Aotearoa U-20 Super Rugby” tournament starting April 11.

Teams under 20 will compete for the same five provinces in the Aotearoa professional tournament, along with the sixth ‘New Zealand Barbarian’ team.

In addition, all three matchdays in Taupo will be broadcast live on New Zealand’s Sky.

Viewing may be limited to New Zealand’s most devout fans, but it will be an important first step for the country’s top youth to get back on their feet after 2020’s close.

“It’s an interesting group this time around, because they didn’t play rugby last year so all the high-performing people are dealing with young athletes who have come up from really weird years,” Tabai Matson, head coach of the program’s under-20s, said Reuters. .

“There will be a lot of the best children’s shows in the country, so it’s exciting and new.

“There could be some variation of the rules. So this is also a great opportunity to see a different way of playing.”


Just like the All Blacks in the rugby test, New Zealand was, to date, almost unbeaten at the under 20 level.

The ‘Baby Blacks’ have won six of the 12 Under-20 World Rugby Championships but slipped to seventh in the 2019 edition of Argentina, their worst result.

With the All Blacks eliminated from the semi-finals of the World Cup that same year, some New Zealand pundits have attributed the disappointment in Japan to a flat-lining performance at U-20 level.

Matson disbanded the relationship but admitted his rivals had stepped up their junior program.

“Is the competition getting stronger? Of course, because the preparation is better than five-10 years ago,” said the former assistant coach of the Waikato Chiefs.

“I think we produced a lot of talent. I can’t compare it to other people’s programs, but what I hear is that South Africa, for example, put together a team of under 20s for six months before they go to the tournament.

“That can’t happen in New Zealand. Our players are committed to their provincial and Super franchises.

“If it is your wish to win (global) tournaments every year then you may have a different program.

“Our program is to create adaptable players who can go further in our game and successfully transfer to Super Rugby.”

Like the professional Super Rugby teams in Australia and New Zealand, Matson hopes the New Zealand government will soon agree to a travel “bubble” with Australia.

The removal of New Zealand’s quarantine requirements for travelers from Australia will pave the way for under 20 years of international competition to continue between countries.

Rugby Australia also hopes that the Wallabies Junior under 20 can take on the nations of New Zealand and the Pacific in the Oceania tournament at some stage this year to propel the momentum forward.

“Every time we have a tournament with the Pacific Islands and Australia in it, we are always happy to beat our brethren across Tasman and the Pacific,” said Matson.

“We want Oceania to be strong because they are our cousins, brothers and sisters.”

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)


image source

Pandemic in heaven – the year of Covid-19 in the Pacific | Instant News

Pacific people are no stranger to adversity. Living at the forefront of the climate crisis, thousands of miles from most places, it is daily accepted that life is a struggle.

Pacific people are no stranger to adversity.

Living at the forefront of the climate crisis, thousands of miles from most places, it is daily accepted that life is a struggle.

Most Pacific Islanders have had to rebuild their lives time and time again whether it be due to typhoons, floods, conflict, economic hardship, or debilitating tropical disease.

So when Covid-19 emerges as a global threat to the Pacific, it’s almost a case of taking numbers and standing in line.

As part of our ongoing March series of pandemic years in heaven each week, RNZ Pacific reaches out to correspondents, health officials, business people. civil society organizations and ordinary people on the island asked them to share their stories.

Read more
Covid 19: New model suggests Māori, Pasifika are at higher risk of being hospitalized
Covid 19 coronavirus: Boaties stranded in the Pacific appeal to New Zealand for help
Covid-19 coronavirus: Vaccine deployment begins in parts of the Pacific
Covid 19 coronavirus: Pacific health leaders warn of potential spread of ‘wild fire’ in Pacific communities

This past week we started with the Pacific here in New Zealand then looked at Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands and French Polynesia.

Pacific Community battling Covid-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand

On February 28, 2020, New Zealand’s first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported to the Ministry of Health.

There is no guidance on how to fight the virus, but New Zealanders support the Government’s call to work hard and act early in setting global standards in dealing with the pandemic.

So many communities are behind this success.

This includes Pasifika, which has been at the center of several community outbreaks, bravely taking on the challenge of helping to stop the virus.

Read the full article here.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape announces a two-week lockdown in the capital Port Moresby amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, 27 July 2020. Photo / Provided
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape announces a two-week lockdown in the capital Port Moresby amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, 27 July 2020. Photo / Provided

Papua New Guinea is deep in the trough of the pandemic

A year after the start of the pandemic, the number of Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea has recently soared.

Official records put the total number of cases at over 1,300 with 14 deaths.

And although authorities moved to close borders early, testing for the virus has been limited, suggesting the outbreak rate in PNG could be far worse than the number of cases suggested.

Those infected include the National Pandemic Response Controller, David Manning, as well as several members of parliament.

But how has the pandemic changed people’s lives during the year?

Marshall Islands Red Cross with Moderna vaccine cold chain logistics.  Photo / Provided
Marshall Islands Red Cross with Moderna vaccine cold chain logistics. Photo / Provided

The Marshall Islands are leading the way in launching the Pacific Covid-19 vaccination

A year after Covid-19’s arrival in the Pacific, the Marshall Islands took the lead in providing vaccinations against the virus.

Health secretary Jack Niedenthal said it was thanks in large part to the support of the United States, which has provided the republic with a Moderna vaccine.

The program was so successful that the Republic of Micronesia has withdrawn from the Covax global Covid-19 vaccine facility, which aims to provide equitable access among low- and middle-income countries.

Read all about the Marshall Islands vaccination journey here.

And you can also listen to our chat with our Marshall Islands correspondent Giff Johnson [https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/436910/marshalls-leads-pacific-s-covid-19-vax-charge on Dateline Pacific.

Tahiti high school closing because of local Covid-19 spike. Photo / Supplied
Tahiti high school closing because of local Covid-19 spike. Photo / Supplied

French Polynesia’s topsy turvy approach to Covid-19

It’s almost a year since the first Covid-19 case was diagnosed in French Polynesia. It also was the first in the Pacific Islands.

Maina Sage, a member of the French National Assembly, brought the virus from Paris, triggering a sharp lockdown.

But once the virus had been eliminated, Tahiti and its islands opened for tourists but saw Covid-19 spread throughout the community and infect thousands.

Now the borders have again been shut on orders from Paris.

Looking back at the past year, Walter Zweifel looked at how the pandemic unfolded in French Polynesia.

Dr Penisimani Poloniati trains staff as part of the Covid-19 response preparations in Tonga. Photo / Supplied
Dr Penisimani Poloniati trains staff as part of the Covid-19 response preparations in Tonga. Photo / Supplied

Tonga still Covid-free one year into the pandemic

This week’s round up of RNZ Pacific’s ongoing pandemic in paradise coverage with the Kingdom of Tonga, which is still proudly free of Covid-19.

Ministry of Health chief executive Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola says like many other Pacific countries, Tonga was anxious when they heard the news about Covid-19.

But so far Tonga is one of the dwindling number of countries that has remained Covid-19 free this whole time.

Even throughout the repatriation of Tongan citizens which started in July 2020 last year.

We continue our coverage of a year of the Pandemic in the Pacific next week starting with Fiji and Solomon Islands.


image source

Total Asia-Pacific oil and gas M&A deals amounted to US $ 7.68 billion in 4Q20 | Instant News

A total of US $ 7.68 billion in cross-border oil and gas industry M&A deals announced in Asia-Pacific 4Q20, led by the US $ 6.24 billion acquisition of China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network, according to the GlobalData deals database.

This value decreased by 48.1% compared to the previous quarter and decreased by 9% when compared to the last quarter’s average of US $ 8.44 billion.

Asia-Pacific has a 37.59% share of the value of the global oil & gas industry cross-border M&A agreement which reached US $ 20.43 billion in 4Q20. With a 30.64% stake and a $ 6.26 billion deal, China is the top country in the value of an Asia-Pacific cross-border M&A deal in the oil and gas industry.

In terms of deal activity, Asia-Pacific recorded 53 cross-border transactions during 4Q20, marking an 18.46% decline over the previous quarter and an 8.62% drop over the average of the past four quarters. The Marshall Islands recorded 17 deals during the quarter.

Top offer

The top five cross-border M&A deals for the oil and gas industry accounted for 90.2% of the overall value during 4Q20.

The combined value of the top five cross-border M&A deals was US $ 6.92 billion, compared with the US $ 7.68 billion overall value recorded for the quarter.

The top five cross-border transactions in the oil and gas industry in Q4 2020 tracked by GlobalData are:

  • China Oil & Gas Pipeline Network acquired PetroChina Beijing Gas Pipeline and PetroChina Dalian LNG for US $ 6.24 billion.
  • Acquisition of Philippine Tank Storage International (Holdings) worth US $ 333.8 million by Keppel Infrastructure Trust and Metro Pacific Investments.
  • ADNOC Logistics & Services US $ 168.4 million asset transaction with Hunter Group.
  • Asset transaction of US $ 110 million with Ionic Shipping (MGT) by General National Maritime Transport.
  • Delta Tankers asset transaction with TRF Ship Management worth US $ 71 million.

For more news and technical articles from the oil and gas pipeline industry, read the latest issue of World Pipelines magazine.

World Pipelines Issues February 2021

The February 2021 issue of World Pipelines includes: report on the Australasian pipeline network; an interesting look at the need to protect pipeline information from the Freedom of Information Act (US); analysis of Ukraine’s place in the global gas sector; and technical articles on subsea repairs, coatings, ILI and SCADA systems.

Read the online article at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/contracts-and-tenders/24022021/asia-pacific-oil-and-gas-ma-deals-total-us768-billion-in-4q20/


image source