Portrait for @AnneWithAnE
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Born and raised in Dunedin.
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Regional News • Oceania
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Credit: Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Australian government's chief medical adviser, Brendan Murphy, has told ABC TV that lifting substantial border restrictions is not expected in 2021, despite an early start to the vaccination campaign. Australia's borders have been closed to travellers since March 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think that we'll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions – even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus," Professor Murphy said.

"And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time. One of the things about this virus is that the rule book has been made up as we go."

Regional News • Oceania
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
2 cases of new UK Covid-19 strain detected in Australia
Credit: unsplash/Fusion Medical Animation

Two travellers from the United Kingdom were found to be infected with the newly detected UK Covid-19 strain after arriving in New South Wales, Australia. The two individuals have been placed in hotel quarantine.

Regional News • Oceania
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Two-way Travel Bubble between New Zealand and Australia
Credit: unsplash/Will Waters

New Zealand agreed Monday on a two-way travel bubble with Australia, allowing quarantine-free travel between the two nations in the first quarter of 2021.

“It is our intention to name a date ... in the New Year once remaining details are locked down,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference in Wellington.

Diversity & Inclusion
New Zealand introduces Hijab to the police uniform
New Zealand introduces Hijab to the police uniform
Credit: Courtesy of NZ Police

Zeena Ali has become the first New Zealand police officer to wear a police-issued hijab as part of her official uniform. She had joined the police forces after the Christchurch terror attack and now worked with the police to design a hijab that is both functional for work as a police officer and considerate to her religion.

Regional News • Oceania
Government of New Zealand Sworn In
Government of New Zealand Sworn In
Credit: Foundations World Economic Forum / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The ministers of the new government for New Zealand and the now second-term prime minister Jacinda Ardern have been sworn in. During a ceremony at Wellington's Government House, they took their oaths of office in English and Maori.

Prime Minister Ardern stated that "There are significant challenges for us to overcome together, but I am confident we have the team to do it and it is great to be officially able to now crack on with it".

Regional News • Oceania
NSW records five locally transmitted Covid-19 cases; 17 New Zealand travellers entered Melbourne despite state's lockdown

New South Wales reports seven new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, five of which were locally transmitted.

Premier Daniel Andrews expressed frustration with the Australian Border Force and Kingsford Smith Airport during a press conference over a technicality that allowed 17 travellers from New Zealand to enter Victoria despite the state's lockdown. The identity of the travellers has yet to be determined.

Regional News • Oceania
Melbourne lockdown extended by two weeks
Empty Swanston Street during Friday morning, Melbourne
Empty Swanston Street during Friday morning, Melbourne Credit: Philip Mallis from Melbourne / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Despite dropping daily numbers of COVID-19 infections, Melbourne will remain in a "Stage 4" lockdown until at least September 28.

“I apologise for the circumstances we find ourselves in; I apologise for the reality we find ourselves in,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Sunday. “Pretending it’s over because we want it to be, that is not something I will do.”

Regional News • Oceania
Christchurch mosque terrorist sentenced to life without parole
Vigil after the Christchurch mosque shooting, March 2019
Vigil after the Christchurch mosque shooting, March 2019 Credit: Charles Edward Miller from Chicago, United States / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Christchurch mosque gunman and far-right terrorist Brenton Tarrant has been sentenced to life without parole in a Christchurch court on Thursday. He pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one charge of terrorism. Tarrant is the first person in New Zealand's history to be convicted of terrorism and to receive life with parole.

"As far as I am able to gauge you are empty of any empathy to your victims," said Justice Cameron Mander. "Your crimes are so wicked that even if you are detained until you die, it will not exhaust the requirements of punishment."

On March 15, 2019, Tarrant opened fire on two mosques in Christchurch, killing 51 Muslim worshipers and injuring 40.

Regional News • Oceania
Not wearing a mask on public transport to be a finable offense in New Zealand
Not wearing a mask on public transport to be a finable offense in New Zealand
Credit: unsplash.com/Marco Testi

Starting Monday, face coverings will become compulsory on public transport in New Zealand. Offenders can be fined either NZ$300 infringement notice or up to NZ$1,000 imposed by a court.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins said there will be an exemption for people with a disability or physical or mental condition and children under the age of 12.

Regional News • Oceania
Australia: Victoria reports 466 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths
Dan Andrews
Dan Andrews Credit: Video Reproduction

Victorian premier Andrews reported 466 new COVID cases in the state. The state's COVID death toll has risen to 278, among the 12 people who have died in the past 24 hours is also a man his 30s. According to Andrews, there are now an additional 130 cases with no known source and a total of 998 Victorian healthcare workers who have contracted the virus.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton reported that the state is experiencing "some stabilisation", averaging around 400-500 daily cases for a week. "If we hadn't stabilised these numbers, we would have seen thousands of cases per day, and there are estimates that we've averted 20,000 or more cases by virtue of the stage 3 restrictions [in July] - but that hasn't been enough," he added.