Australia redirects $US65m to Pacific

The halt in tourism caused by border closures, cuts to remittances and seasonal worker programmes and other effects of Covid-19 have been devastating for many Pacific economies.

The funding will be redirected from the existing aid programme, and the government says it will provide respite for Pacific governments.

A fifth of the money will go to Papua New Guinea, with the rest to be shared among nine other countries.


US Pacific gets $140-million education boost

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said the funding will "expand technological, distance learning, training, and long-term planning capabilities."

Guam receives nearly $US60 million (59,758,889), American Samoa over $US47 million (47,218,429) and the Northern Marianas close to $US30 million (29,787,559).

Among the Freely Associated States, Micronesia gets $US3.6 million (3,654,689), Marshall Islands nearly $US2 million (1,964,396) and Palau $US760,000 (762,497).

Trump says US topping world virus cases is 'badge of honour'


"I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better," he said at the White House.

The US has 1.5 million coronavirus cases and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In second place is Russia, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases.

What did Trump say?

On Monday, Mr Trump was hosting his first cabinet meeting since the US outbreak began.

Surge in covid-19 cases in Papua province

Last night in Jayapura, the Papua Province Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Silwanus Sumule announced a sharp increase of 74 cases in a day.

The total now stands at 436. Of that number 323 people are recieving medical treatment.

The death toll remains at 7.

Reflecting the breakdown of overall cases to date, most of the new cases are in Jayapura City and in other regencies close to the border with Papua New Guinea, as well as in Mimika regency, arround the Freeport gold mine, the single biggest cluster so far.

UNDP hands over personal protective equipment boosting Nauru COVID-19 preparations

The equipment was made available through the Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) project. Amongst other priorities, the project aims to strengthen the Republic of Nauru’s preparedness for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The PPE was presented to Health Attaché, Sharon Aremwa by the RESPAC Project Manager and UNDP Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Advisor, Noud Leenders in Suva recently. .

Cafes and bars reopen in parts of Australia after Covid-19 lockdown

The easing of quarantine measures in New South Wales (NSW) state comes just a day after the national statistics office reported unprecedented record high job losses and Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned that worse was still to come.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian cautioned people to remain vigilant and maintain social distancing as restaurants, public pools and other businesses reopen under the proviso they limit customers to 10 at any one time.

$195m of NZ govt budget will go to help Pasifika

Pacific peoples minister Aupito William Sio said the money will help with the recovery and rebuild from Covid-19, with the Pacific community among the hardest hit.

$80 million has been set aside for yet-to-be-announced education iniatives, while more than $30 million will go expanding skills, employment and education programmes that already exist.

$40 million will be spent on improving housing for Pacific families, and money has also been budgeted for culture and heritage funds, community content and the construction of a Fale Malae in Wellington.

Cook Islands PM says reopening borders a key priority

Henry Puna said it may be the only way to kick start the economy.

In locking down the country on the 5th of March, Mr Puna said he wouldn't compromise the health of his people for economic gains.

Speaking to the Cook Islands News this week, Mr Puna said the country remains Covid-19 free, and any reopening would have to ensure that it remained that way.

But he said the Rarotonga Hospital now has an isolation area and coronavirus testing kits.

PNG cabinet approves K280m for Covid-19 expenses

Prime Minister James Marape said the funding will go to all sectors of the Covid-19 operations, but especially frontliners especially medical workers, police, and defence personnel.

Some of the funding is to be used to help PNG citizens who are stranded overseas to return to the country.

Mr Marape also said that 23.2 tonnes of medical gear, including personal protective equipment, were being flown in from China and were due to soon arrive in Port Moresby.

How Covid-19 is affecting your dreams

And have those dreams felt more vivid than usual? You are certainly not alone if you have been.

Many people are reporting unusually vivid dreams during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Professor Mark Blagrove is a psychologist and sleep and dream researcher at Swansea University.

He told Jim Mora on Sunday Morning that people are more likely to remember their dreams because they have abandoned their alarm clocks during quarantine.

Most dreams occur during periods of rapid eye movement or REM which indicate a very deep sleep.