COVID-19 pandemic

Papua New Guinea further opens border, lifts Port Moresby curfew

The move is part of the latest changes to the nation's pandemic response and includes a lifting of the daily curfew in the capital Port Moresby.

Pandemic response controller, David Manning, said international flights are now open to Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Solomon Islands which are in addition to Australia which already has access.

Manning said passengers are still required to get approval from his office to travel to the country and must be able to show a negative test result for Covid-19 before being allowed on a flight.

Paris to shut bars and raise alert to maximum

Full detail of the new restrictions will be announced on Monday and will last for two weeks, the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex announced.

On Sunday France reported 12,565 cases of Covid-19.

It comes after the city of Marseille closed bars and restaurants last week.

The maximum alert level in France comes into force when the infection rate in a locality exceeds 250 per 100,000 people and at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for Covid-19 patients.

Cineworld to shut down UK screens after Bond film delay

As first reported in the Sunday Times, the firm is writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to say the industry is now "unviable".

The firm says it has been hit by delays in the release of big-budget films, putting 5,500 jobs at risk.

The premiere of James Bond film No Time To Die has been postponed twice and is now due for release in April 2021.

It is hoped that the Cineworld cinemas will be able to reopen next year, with staff being asked to accept redundancy in the hope of rejoining the company when theatres open again.

Coronavirus: Australia opens 'travel zone' to New Zealanders

People will be able to fly from New Zealand to New South Wales and the Northern Territory - and avoid mandatory quarantine - from 16 October.

The nations closed their borders in March in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Officials say the risks are now low enough to justify a "travel bubble".

"The establishment of a travel zone between Australia and New Zealand has been finalised," said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

Fears rugby league players from region missing out on NRL due to Covid-19

The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on the domestic game in Aotearoa, with the national secondary schools and youth tournaments among a host of events to be cancelled.

Experienced administrator and rugby league agent, Jordan Friend, said the coronavirus has been devastating for the development of young players in New Zealand.

"Cancellations of these tournaments will affect players in terms of less exposure, but also mentally for kids not getting that opportunity," he said.

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.