COVID-19 pandemic

Nations heading in wrong direction with COVID-19, says WHO

Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "too many countries [were] headed in the wrong direction".

Cases were rising where proven measures were not adopted or followed, he added.

The Americas are the current epicentre of the pandemic. The US has seen a rise in cases amid tensions between health experts and President Donald Trump.

The US, the worst affected country, has over 3.3 million confirmed cases and more than 135,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

What has the WHO said?

Qantas to cut at least 6000 jobs

Another 15,000 employees will continue to be stood down without pay over the coming months, particularly those associated with its international operations, as the pandemic prevents almost all international travel.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said the decision was painful to make, but also necessary if the airline was to survive the impact of the pandemic.

In a release to the Australian Stock Exchange, Qantas said about 100 of its aircraft would be grounded for up to 12 months, with some for longer.

No saliva to shine the ball in cricket

Several other interim measures designed to ensure the safety of players and match officials have been ratified by the ICC Chief Executives Committee -- including allowing home umpires in international series.

International cricket will resume next month when West Indies face England in a three-match test series.

The tourists arived in Manchester today and will go into quarantine before the first game scheduled for July 8th.

Pacific women leaders identify social pressures amid pandemic

The leaders met virtually last week to discuss the gender implications of Covid-19 in the Pacific.

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, and Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, were the convenors of the meeting whose participants included other ministers, MPs and senior civil servants.

They idenfitied core areas where women and girls have been disproportionately affected.

These include health impacts where women healthcare workers are at the frontline of the pandemic response.

Public gatherings, church services allowed in American Samoa

The fifth Amended Emergency Declaration is effective from today and allows public gatherings which are limited to 150 people and with social distancing in place.

Businesses can now operate from 5am to 9 pm but must allow just 50 percent of their capacity within the premises.

All schools will remain shut for the next 30 days, with the current school year closed.

Public beaches and parks have reopened for the first time since March.

American Samoa does not have a confirmed case of Covid-19.

The new declaration is in effect until 1 July.

     

Tower plans to cut 108 jobs despite HY profit rise

The insurance company's profit for the six months ended March was $14.9 million compared with $11.9m a year ago, as income rose 11 percent on the back of increased premiums, and the cost of claims stabilised. The result contains three months of business done by Youi, which Tower bought at the end of last year.

However, outgoing chief executive Richard Harding said the company was bracing for reduced investment income and slower growth because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which was prompting the company to cut costs and make greater use of digital platforms for customers.

The show goes on in Vanuatu: Longtaem we Longtaem I Pass

However, in a positive sign, over the weekend - the art wheels started to turn again in Vanuatu with the premiere of a new play from one of the Pacific region's leading theatre companies.

Wan Smolbag Theatre has managed to launch a new play called "Longtaem we Longtaem I pass", which is based on a series of fables and Kastom stories from Vanuatu and around the world.

Nearly 800 Fiji Airways staff terminated

FBC News to obtained a copy of the termination letter that was sent to 775 staff from the airline.

In the letter, Fiji Airways said the severe effects of Covid-19, had resulted in the company taking the "drastic step".

Staff were sent the letter have been given 48 hours to return any Fiji Airways property and to collect personal belongings from the office.

The letter said people who had been released could reapply for roles when the situation allowed.

     

Qualification for Vanuatu employment stabilization payment COVID-19

The policy also clarifies those sectors that partly qualify and those that are not eligible for assistance for ESP.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo Rasou, said the Ministry through its dedicated ESP Team is mandated to assess all applications based on these criteria to confirm their eligibility. 

COVID-19: Pacific Community Updates

Globally, nations are taking actions to reduce and control the spread of the virus. 

Between 31 March and 03 April 2020, 36 new cases have been confirmed in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

As of 03 April 2020, 6 countries (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), Papua New Guinea, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam and New Caledonia) in the PICTs have reported 153 cases including 4 deaths, excluding the number of cases from USS Theodore Roosevelt currently docked in Guam.