Covid-19: NZ foreign minister delays Pacific mission

Mr Peters was due to travel to Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands later this month.

With a delegation of MPs, government officials, community leaders and journalists, the minister was to leave New Zealand on 22 March for the week long mission.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said "regretfully" it had deferred the mission.

It said the decision was made "in light of the pressure that the preparation and response to the coronavirus was placing on Pacific governments".

Call for annual global gender meeting to be postponed

The Commission on the Status of Women meeting has been planned for over a year, with more than 100 Pacific feminists, researchers and leaders set to rub shoulders with thousands of global delegates over two weeks of sessions.

Leading pacific gender activists including Fiji's Shamima Ali, Sharon Baghwan Rolls and Noeleen Nabulivou released a joint statement today.

They don't recommend travel to New York for the commission meeting given the high risk of covid-19 infection.

Coronavirus: 3 more in quarantine in American Samoa

The woman travelled via New Zealand, one of the men travelled from Kuwait, and the other man had served as a missionary in France.

Under Department of Health policies, they were expected to spend 14 days in quarantine in Honolulu and obtain a health clearance three days before flying to American Samoa.

Hawaiian Air is supposed to enforce the regulations but the three travellers were allowed to board.

That brings the number of people currently in quarantine at the Leone Health Center to four.

A man arriving from South Korea was taken in last week.

Coronavirus: First case of virus in New Zealand

The person - who is in their 60s - is in a stable and improving condition in Auckland City Hospital, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

They are a citizen of New Zealand who had been to Iran and flown back to New Zealand via Bali. 

Ardern said New Zealand's pandemic plan was now being fully put into place.

"It has been through good care and good management that New Zealand has gone through such a long period of time without having a case arriving on our shores," Ardern added.

Sunwolves match with Brumbies likely to be cancelled due to coronavirus

SANZAAR announced this afternoon the March 6 match in Osaka has been cancelled due to multiple factors linked to Covid-19.

"The international cross-border nature of the Super Rugby tournament has led SANZAAR to review its playing schedule and to implement specific tournament protocols to minimise any risks of the ongoing effects of the corona [COVID-19] virus," SANZAAR said in a statement.

Tokyo Olympics will most likely go ahead as planned, but coronavirus could still damage attendance

Experts say the games are unlikely to be called off because that would all but guarantee huge financial losses for the host city, as well as a slew of sponsors, broadcasters and other stakeholders.

But what had been mere speculation seemed to become a possibility when Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, said Tuesday that organizers would have a three-month window to decide whether to cancel or proceed with the massive sporting event.

Coronavirus: Two in isolation in Fiji, awaiting test results

A woman who flew into Fiji from Japan last weekend is awaiting test results are after she arrived in the country from Narita.

The woman is being isolated in hospital.

Meanwhile, a nine-year-old boy is also in isolation at a Fiji hospital after he fell ill soon after he returned from Singapore.

The Ministry of Health would not say if the boy had symptoms of the virus, but said tests were being conducted.

An official said there were no confirmed cases of the virus in Fiji.


Quarantined Pacific Islanders leave Auckland naval base

After undergoing a last health check, the evacuees left the Whangaparaoa military base and travelled by bus to the airport. 

98 New Zealanders left by bus or with family and friends.

The base will soon be back in use as a quarantine centre. Eight New Zealanders on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship​ are due to leave Japan late on Wednesday night on an Australian evacuation flight to Darwin.

Of the 14 New Zealanders originally on board the ship, two are still in hospital in Japan and a family member has stayed with them.

Coronavirus: Fiji govt urged to reconsider quarantine plan

Ratu Suliano Matanitobua said the health of people from the Serua and Namosi provinces near the hospital would be put at threat by the unit.

"As the paramount chief of the region, I have received hundreds of calls and courtesy calls since the proposal made its way into the public domain to speak up for them," he said in a statement.

"The people of Navua would like to make it clear to the government that we would not like to become another Wuhun of Fiji or a guinea pig laboratory in this trial and error games that is being played with the lives of our people."

Coronavirus: Japan cruise ship's US passengers home for further quarantine

One plane landed at a US Air Force base in California and the other in Texas. Passengers will be isolated at military facilities for 14 days.

There were about 400 Americans on board the Diamond Princess. The ship, with some 3,700 passengers and crew, has been in quarantine since 3 February.

Meanwhile, China has reported 2,051 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Of those new cases, 94% were from Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.