COVID-19 pandemic

UK imposes 6-month curbs against virus

After scientific warnings that deaths could soar without urgent action, Johnson stopped short of another full lockdown as he did in March but warned that further measures could come if the disease was not suppressed.

"We reserve the right to deploy greater firepower, with significantly greater restrictions," he told parliament following emergency meetings with ministers and leaders of the United Kingdom's devolved governments.

Just weeks after urging people to start returning to workplaces, Johnson advised office workers to stay at home if they could.

Pacific women entrepreneurs suffer more under Covid-19: trade commissioner

Caleb Jarvis says despite most of the region being free of the virus, the economic impact of closed borders has been detrimental.

Jarvis says this is evident in countries reliant on tourism - a sector with a majority of female workers.

From capital to develop and export goods like coffee, to training and support with digital platforms, Mr Jarvis says many women are balancing with being the primary caregivers at home.

According to a survey conducted by PTI, the economic impacts of Covid-19 on female-led businesses in the Pacific continue to rise.

Qantas flight to nowhere sells out in 10 minutes

And, Qantas believes it's one of the fastest-selling flights they've ever put on.

The airline, which has bled almost $2 billion since the pandemic began, will run a "Great Southern Land" joy flight which will depart and arrive in Sydney.

Passengers have been promised great views of Australian icons like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, which are off limits to many people due to border closures.

"From the sky, there are no border restrictions," the advertisement says.

Oceania Rugby Women's Champs cancelled

The announcement comes a week after the regional men's and women's sevens championships were also scrapped.

Oceania Rugby General Manager Bruce Cook said the health and well-being of players, officials and public remains to be their top priority.

"Given the exponential global growth of women's rugby and the opportunity to once again showcase our women's talent across the region leading into next year's all important Rugby World Cup, the cancellation of the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship was a very difficult and sad decision to make," he said.

Japan won't play again in 2020 due to COVID

Head coach Jamie Joseph said Japan, who had games against England and Wales cancelled earlier this year due to the outbreak, had been due to play against Europe’s top teams in an eight-nation tournament later this year.

Japan have not played a test match since their quarter-final loss to eventual champions South Africa at last year’s Rugby World Cup on home soil.

“We have concluded there will be no test matches this year,” JRFU Chairman Kensuke Iwabuchi told a media briefing on Monday.

People protesting against COVID-19 lockdown arrested in Melbourne

Officers said the "most significant activity" took place at the Queen Victoria Market where protesters chanting "freedom" were met with a heavy police presence.

The demonstrators at one point linked arms as they were surrounded by police officers.

Scuffles broke out as arrests were made.

A Victoria Police spokesman said there were between 200 and 250 people involved in the protest activity, and 176 were fined.

Oceania Sevens for 2020 cancelled

The announcement follows confirmation last week that the Sydney and Hamilton legs of the World Sevens Series have also been axed.

Oceania Rugby General Manager Bruce Cook said scrapping the November tournament was unfortunate but the right decision, with the health and well-being of the players, officials and public their top priority.

Australia completed a clean sweep of the men's and women's Oceania titles in Suva last year, with the Australian men and Fiji women sealing qualification to the now delayed Tokyo Olympics.

Lego set to open 120 new stores despite pandemic

The Danish toy firm told the BBC bricks-and-mortar stores had a solid future, despite the drop in footfall on high streets and social distancing restrictions in shops.

"When our stores have reopened after lockdown, there have been queues," boss Niels Christiansen said.

"We give people the brand experience in our shops which we can't do outside."

It comes as the toy firm announced revenues of DKK 15.7bn (£1.8bn) for the first half of the year, up 7%, while operating profit grew by 11%.

Pacific doctor urges family focus on elderly during pandemic

Etuini Ma'u of Waikato Hospital said there had been an increase of anxiety and depression among the elderly.

Pacific families needed to take extra care to ensure their elderly were supported during these uncertain times, Dr Ma'u said.

"The impact of lockdown is affecting the elderly deeply. There's been an increase of anxiety and depression. The longer this drags out, the harder it will be for them," he said.

"It's about maintaining that social connection and recognising that this is a very disruptive and uncertain time for your parents, for your elderly."

Zoom revenues skyrocket as profits double

 Revenues leaped 355% to $663.5m (£496.3m) for the three months ending 31 July, beating analysts' expectations of $500.5m.

Profits soared to $186m, while customer growth rose 458%, compared with the same period in 2019.

Video conferencing apps remain crucial due to the increase in remote working.