COVID-19 pandemic

Air NZ reflects on $454 million loss in 2020

It reported a $454 million loss for the year ended June because the Covid-19 pandemic clipped its wings.

Air New Zealand's international flights dropped from more than 30,000 in 2019, to under 10,000 last year.

Overall passenger numbers fell from 17.6 million to 8.4 million.

It brought in more than 10 million items of PPE gear to help with the Covid-19 response, while its cleaning staff used over 45,000 litres of disinfectant on aircraft.

Chief executive Greg Foran said returning to normal levels of air travel would be complex.

France PM Castex announces tighter curfew

The move is a tightening of a curfew already in place since December, which restricts movement from 20:00-06:00.

Announcing the measure on Thursday, Mr Castex described the country's situation as "worrying" with infections remaining at a "high plateau".

He also announced new restrictions for people arriving into the country.

France has so far recorded more than 69,000 coronavirus deaths - the seventh-highest death toll in the world.

Shoppers ended 2020 on a high after a year of lockdowns and closed borders

The June quarter, which included alert level 4 nationwide lockdown, saw the value of spending at retailers on the Paymark network drop 15.5 per cent compared with 2019.

But by December, spending for the year was up 5 per cent.

Retail spending across the eftpos network in 2020 was $42.6 billion, an increase of just 0.1 per cent.

The average value per transactions increased, from $39.04 to $42.58.

Retailers experienced the highs and lows of 2020 differently, according to Paymark.

Tokyo Olympics to go ahead in 'safe and secure' manner despite Covid-19 surge

Tokyo reported 2,447 new cases on Thursday. This is a jump of 850 cases – just over 50 per cent – from the day before. Tokyo was reporting just a few hundred new cases a few months ago.

The rapid spread of the virus in Japan is imperilling plans for the postponed Olympics, which are to open on July 23. The Paralympics begin on August 24.

Air Tahiti gets subsidies extended until July

The transport minister Jean-Christophe Bouissou signed an agreement to give Air Tahiti just over $US4 million to keep flying to 34 islands earmarked for cuts.

The deal was extended as the aviation sector keeps being affected by the downturn in business because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

After a lockdown, Air Tahiti said last June it would drop more than half of its destinations and service just 20 islands.

The announcement angered the government, which said such a drop of service amounted to taking the population of the entire islands hostage.

WHO concerned at ‘growing perception’ COVID pandemic is passing

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists at the regular Geneva briefing that progress on vaccines, in recent days, “gives us all a lift, and we can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

He praised the United Kingdom’s emergency authorisation for the Pfizer/BioNTech rollout which is due to begin next week, describing it as “an important scientific step for the world”.

Covid-19 impacts on Pacific business improving slightly - report

In its Pacific Business Monitor, the commission said the top three challenges for the Pacific as a result of Covid-19, remained poor cashflow, impact of closed international borders and not knowing how long the crisis would last.

Ninety percent of businesses said poor cashflow, 89 percent closed borders and 88 percent, for not knowing how long the pandemic will last.

But Trade Commissioner Caleb Jarvis said the extent and severity of impacts may be beginning to improve with 79 percent Fiji businesses reporting a negative impact - the lowest since tracking began.

Pacific Heads of Customs administrations pledge to work together

At the conclusion of the OCO Heads Annual Conference on October 20, themed “Working together to build a safer Blue Pacific”, leaders of Customs administrations in the region stated the loss in revenue collection for their governments due to the closure of borders as their biggest cost of COVID-19.

However, in addition to generating revenue for their governments, Customs administrations are increasingly being presented with other challenges such as the rise of illicit drugs, contraband goods and having to crew quarantine centers.

Victoria to ease lockdown as cases fall

From Monday, people will be able to travel further and meet up with more friends without a time limit on how long they spend outside the home.

But strict measures remain in place for restaurants and retailers, limiting them to takeaway and delivery options.

The city of Melbourne, which has been under stricter lockdown, will also have rules eased.

As of 19 October, in Melbourne:

People can travel up to 25km (15 miles) from their home for exercise or shopping

Gatherings of up to 10 people from two different households are allowed

Aucklanders lost 200 jobs a day during August lockdown

Auckland Council's economic team, which has tallied the cost, said the total 4205 jobs lost in the region were 60 percent of the national total for the month.

Its chief economist David Norman said the city's job losses averaged 200 a day - which was fewer than the 250 a day forecast in alert level 3, but still high.

"These are real people. It's lives and families to support, and a lot of them lost their jobs; over 400. So that's a real impact".