COVID-19

Stars take part in One World: Together At Home concert

Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish were among more than 100 artists who performed songs from their living rooms, due to the coronavirus lockdown.

The Rolling Stones even managed to play together from four separate locations.

The eight-hour show also featured real-life stories from those on the front line of the fight against Covid-19.

The event raised almost $128m (£102m), with proceeds going towards vaccine development and local and regional charities, organisers Global Citizen said.

Fiji schools to remain closed until June

Schools were scheduled to reopen today but the ministry said that with the country's 17th covid-1 case confirmed on Thursday, the government recognised the virus would be around for some time.

Fiji's Education Minister Rosy Akbar said teachers would ensure learning materials were distributed for home schooling.

"It is important that we keep our children safe and ensure schools remain closed for the health, wellbeing and safety of our children," she said.

Coronavirus: Little Mix and Tom Jones in Together At Home concert

A host of big names performed from home on the US broadcast earlier, before more British stars were added to the line-up for a UK edition on BBC One.

The event aimed to celebrate healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards said NHS staff and other key workers "all deserve such a huge thank you".

The girl group were among the UK acts who took part in the British version of the concert on Sunday, along with Rag 'N' Bone Man, George the Poet and The Kingdom Choir.

Pacific lockdown against Covid19 slows free satellite offer

Singapore-based company Kacific offered over 1,000 free satellite dishes to help with a rapid response to tracking the virus across the Pacific.

The support, worth more than US$1-million, would help healthcare departments connect rural and remote medical clinics to high speed internet.

Kacific's CEO Christian Patouraux said there was an overwhelming response to the offer.

But he said given lockdown logistics for island nations, there will be a delay before the technology can be used.

Coronavirus: Spanish PM promises to ease confinement of children

Now Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez aims to relax the rule on 27 April so they can "get some fresh air".

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who has young children herself, this week pleaded with the government to allow children outside.

Spain has seen more than 20,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic and almost 200,000 reported cases.

In a televised briefing on Saturday evening, Mr Sánchez said Spain had left behind "the most extreme moments and contained the brutal onslaught of the pandemic".

Global music marathon salutes health staff

Pop and classical musicians from the United States, Asia and the Middle East, all performing from their homes, appeared on the One World: Together at Home live stream due to run for six hours to pay tribute to frontline workers battling the health crisis around the world.

Jamil, known for her TV series The Good Place, told viewers the event was meant to be "a moment of respite".

"Put your wallets away. This is not a fundraiser. We are just here to give you an incredible show with amazing live performances," she said.

Protesters in Texas ignore social distancing, oppose lockdown

New York, epicentre of the US epidemic, yesterday reported another 540 coronavirus-related deaths for the previous day, the lowest daily tally since 1 April. While that was down from 630 a day earlier, it still represented hundreds more families who lost a loved one to Covid-19, the highly contagious illness caused by the virus, in a single day in one state.

The number of patients requiring intensive care and ventilators to help them breathe as the virus attacks their lungs was also down in New York.

Africa could become next epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak

UN officials also say it is likely the pandemic will kill at least 300,000 people in Africa and push nearly 30 million into poverty.

The past week in Africa has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

There have been almost 1000 deaths and almost 19,000 infections across Africa, so far much lower rates than in parts of Europe and the US.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa - which warned 300,000 could die - called for a $US100bn ($NZ166bn) safety net for the continent, including halting external debt payments.

OFC provides regional solidarity fund

The OFC Executive Committee unanimously approved funding to it's 11 Member Associations to help reduce the impact of Covid-19, with each Association eligible to apply for up to NZ$50,000.

The grant, which is part of the OFC FIFA FORWARD funding, had been designed to cover four key areas, including food and hygiene packets, loss of income, medical allowances and self-isolation costs.

The Solidarity Fund would also provide assistance to those countries that were directly affected by the category five Cyclone Harold during the pandemic.

Lockdown for Pacific an opportunity to reset diets says academic

Dean of Pasifika at the Auckland Medical School, Colin Tukuitonga, who previously headed the Pacific Community, said people can use the isolation to achieve some personal good.

He said given the rampant levels of non-communicable disease in the Pacific, if people were to turn back to their more traditional foods, instead of relying on processed, sweetened, unhealthy imports, the impact could be huge.

Dr Tukuitonga said with borders closed now's a good to reset and look at developing and growing more healthy foods locally.