Nauru signs Joint Ministerial Statement to keep global supply and trade links open during COVID-19

A Joint Ministerial Statement by Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, The Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Singapore and Uruguay represents a collective response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with a commitment to maintaining open and connected supply chains, as well as to collaborating to identify and address trade disruptions with ramifications on the flow of necessities.

Two New York cats become first US pets to test positive for Covid-19

The cats, from separate areas of New York state, had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. It is believed that they contracted the virus from people in their households or neighbourhoods, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Animals, pets, can get infected. There's no evidence that the virus is transmitted from the pet to a human," Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the daily coronavirus briefing.

139 Covid-19 cases now confirmed in Guam

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero said one confirmed case was reported earlier on Thursday from US Naval Hospital Guam, and there is an additional probable case.

She said the US territory has 139 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Five people have died from the virus there.

126 people have recovered from Covid-19 in Guam.

Missouri sues Chinese government over coronavirus handling

In the lawsuit, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges China did little to stop the spread of the virus.

Mr Schmitt claims Missouri residents have suffered possibly tens of billions of dollars in economic damages.

China's foreign ministry denounced the move, saying the "frivolous lawsuit has no factual or legal basis".

A spokesperson said: "Really absurd. Based on the principle of sovereign equality, US courts have NO jurisdiction over the Chinese government."

US increases support for Pacific Covid-19 response by over $32m

The bulk of the funds will go to its Freely Associated States with Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau receiving over $US27.5-million from various federal agencies.

Other Pacific countries will receive a combined total of $US3.3-million from USAID while Papua New Guinea will get a separate $US1.2-million.

The funding announced late last week is on top of the more than $US32-million already committed by Washington since the start of the pandemic.

Fiji football coach still awaiting first match

Danish national Flemming Serritslev arrived in Fiji over 12 weeks ago before agreeing to take charge of the Bula Boys on the road to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

His first matches in charge were set to be as part of an international tri-series against Solomon Islands and Tahiti in March before the fixtures were postponed because of Covid-19, while it was confirmed this week that the OFC Nations Cup in June had been scrapped.

WHO urges caution over lifting Covid-19 restrictions

The WHO's Western Pacific division held a media briefing this week to discuss the coronavirus.

Asked when regional countries might lift some restrictions imposed under their states of emergency, the WHO Regional Director Takeshi Kasai urged caution.

"When we consider lifting, we need a careful analysis of the situation And we should not lift everything all at once."

Dr Kasai said this applied to all countries, including those in the Pacific islands who had no reported cases of Covid-19.

SA Rugby unveils crisis plan aimed at saving upwards of R1billion

The home of the 2019 World Cup winners has accepted they are in a fight for survival following the stoppage of rugby around the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic and an industry financial impact plan (IFIP) has been formulated to help guide them through turbulent times. 

In a statement, SA Rugby outlined that the country’s rugby industry has agreed in principle a wide-ranging plan to cut between R700m to R1b from its budget.

SPC warns of threat to fisheries from Covid-19

The director of the SPC's fisheries division, Neville Smith, said they were working to minimise the impact on the tuna fishery, the coastal fishery and on aquaculture.

Mr Smith said exports from fisheries and Pacific food security were now more important than ever.

He said fisheries observers not being able to travel, along with port closures, were a threat to the finances of the hugely important tuna fishery.

Immigration to US to be suspended amid pandemic, says Trump

On Twitter, he cited "the attack from the Invisible Enemy", as he calls coronavirus, "as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens".

There are no other details so far.

It comes as the White House also argues the worst of the pandemic is over and the country can begin reopening.

The US has already agreed with both Canada and Mexico to extend border restrictions on non-essential travel until at least mid-May.