Australia

Victoria announces more than 200 new cases and one death

Only 30 of the new infections were connected to contained outbreaks and 186 were under investigation.

There are now at least 1249 active cases in Victoria.

About 5 million Victorians in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are under strict stay-at-home orders after weeks of worrying transmission of the deadly virus.

"This is not an ordinary weekend," Premier Daniel Andrews said. "You've got to be in your home if you are in the metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire areas."

The tenants enduring Australia's toughest lockdown

But for 3,000 people living in public housing tower blocks, an even stricter lockdown was imposed on Saturday.

Unlike other Melburnians, residents of the nine towers cannot leave for any reason - they are subject to a police guard.

It's the toughest lockdown seen in Australia so far.

The "detention directions" in suburbs of Flemington and North Melbourne are designed to contain a cluster of infections found in some of the buildings.

Melbourne begins new shutdown

Melbourne's five million residents will be barred from leaving home for six weeks, except for essential reasons.

Police say they are setting up a "ring of steel" around the city, with "checkpoints anytime and anywhere" to enforce the measures.

Borders between Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, and neighbouring states closed on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison paid tribute to Melburnians' resilience on Wednesday.

Australia to consider limiting returning residents

It comes after New Zealand also said it would be looking at limiting the number of arrivals in the country via a booking system.

The prime minister said there were no plans to reimpose restrictions across the country, after Victoria enforced stay-at-home rules in metropolitan Melbourne and one regional area due to a spike in infections.

Morrison was asked about the issue of travel bubbles being set up with other countries and taxing travellers.

"We haven't even concluded in the arrangements with any other countries at the moment.

Australia-NZ win bid to host FIFA World Cup

Their joint proposal beat a rival bid from Colombia to host the tournament which is being expanded to 32 teams.

Japan, who had also put forward a bid to stage the event, pulled out on Monday after they were ranked below the joint bid by world governing body FIFA's evaluation report.

The report highlighted the infrastructure and organisational advantages of the Australia/New Zealand bid which FIFA believed would make for a commercially successful tournament.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand was honoured to have been selected as co-hosts.

New Covid-19 cases deflating Australia, Pacific bubble ideas

With 10 active cases and quarantine botch-ups, it could be months yet before Australian and Pacific visitors are allowed in.

Meanwhile, Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has warned its border will mostly likely be locked down until 2021.

That has businesses feeling nervous.

For Skyline - an adventure tourism business in Queenstown and Rotorua - the weekdays are the hardest.

Locals are visiting in the weekends and school holidays, but in between the luges and gondolas are quiet.

NZ and Australian flights repatriate ni-Vanuatu

Of the passengers, 50 were from Australia and 132 from New Zealand, mostly seasonal workers who had been stranded in these countries since the covid-19 pandemic was declared in March.

Today saw the last two flights from the first phase of a process to repatriate Vanuatu nationals amid international travel restrictions due to the pandemic. The second phase will begin in August.

Since the repatriation started last month over one thousand five hundred nationals have been rapatriated.

Australia-NZ set to win rights to host World Cup

The Japanese Football Association has announced that Japan is withdrawing its bid, just days before football's world governing body holds a vote to determine the successful candidate.

Following an executive board meeting on Monday, the JFA withdrew its candidacy and decided to support the Australia/New Zealand bid which will go up against a bid from Colombia.

Earlier this month, FIFA rated the joint Australia/New Zealand bid as the best to host the tournament, with Japan in second place.

Victoria extends state of emergency as coronavirus cases spike

The move came a day after the state announced it would reimpose restrictions capping visitors to households to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10, starting Monday. The limits had been relaxed on 1 June to allow up to 20 people in households and public gatherings.

Victoria reported 19 new infections on Sunday, the fifth day of double digit-rises. The state has now had 1836 total confirmed cases, or a quarter of the cases in Australia, since the Covid-19 pandemic erupted.

'Bula Bubble' touted by Fiji PM

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji was working on a "Bula Bubble", between his country, New Zealand and Australia.

Upon arrival, travellers would have to spend 14 days in Fiji government quarantine facilities and then be required to pass a Covid-19 test to enter the general public.

This would be at their own cost or that of their respective government.