COVID-19 cases

New Zealand surpasses 1 million Covid-19 cases since pandemic began

It comes as the ministry reports another 9173 new cases and 14 deaths today.

This time last year, the total of cases reported in New Zealand was 2288, the ministry said.

"New Zealanders' collective response to Covid-19 helped us to keep our case numbers low, especially in that first year when the virus was rampant internationally," it said.

In its latest update today, the ministry said 385 people were in hospital with the virus - compared with 368 people in its previous update yesterday. There were 13 people in ICU.

Covid-hit Beijing keeps up guard to avert Shanghai-like misery

As Beijing rolled out three rounds of mass testing this week across a number of districts, it locked down a number of residential compounds, office blocks and a university after infections were found while shutting some schools, entertainment venues and tourist sites.

Universal Studios in Beijing announced late on Wednesday it would require visitors to show negative test results before they could enter the theme park, starting on Friday.

Moana Pasifika miss another round due to Covid-19

This weekend is the first 'Super Round' of the competition where the Australian-based sides which include the Fijian Drua, and the New Zealand-based sides including Moana Pasifika, face off for the first time.

All six matches were scheduled to take place at Melbourne's Rectangular Stadium this weekend, but a rash of Covid-19 cases in the Force squad has led to the postponement of Friday's second fixture.

China announces largest city-wide lockdown

The city of Shanghai will be locked down in two stages over nine days while authorities carry out Covid-19 testing.

The important financial hub has battled a new wave of infections for nearly a month, although case numbers are not high by some international standards.

Authorities had so far resisted locking down the city of some 25 million people to avoid destabilising the economy.

But after Shanghai recorded its highest daily number of cases on Saturday since the early days of the pandemic, authorities appear to have changed course.

Cook Islands withdraw from FIFA World Cup qualifiers

With Vanuatu already out of the tournament in Qatar, Thursday's clash between Solomon Islands and Tahiti in Doha will now act as a single play-off match to determine the winner and runner-up of Group A, with both teams already assured of a spot in the semi-finals.

If the match is level at the end of 90 minutes, extra time will be played followed by penalties if required.

More Covid-19 cases in French Polynesia as pandemic eases

The health authorities say five patients are in hospital.

The number of active cases has almost halved in the past week and is now 662.

More than 80 percent of those 12 years and older have had two jabs.

Pandemic-related restrictions were further relaxed earlier this month by exempting more people from the obligation to be vaccinated.

There is also no longer a need to show a vaccine pass for domestic travel.

     

Covid-19 continues to ravage Super Rugby

Covid-19 outbreaks in the Blues, Highlanders, and Crusaders squads have forced a change in the schedule.

The only game that will be played this weekend is Moana Pasifika against the Chiefs at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland in Saturday night.

The original schedule had the Highlanders playing host to Moana Pasifika in Dunedin, the Blues playing the Crusaders in Christchurch, and the Hurricanes versus the Chiefs in Wellington.

Moana Pasifika have only played one game in their debut season so far - that was against the Crusaders earlier this month.

Covid-19 numbers grow in Highlanders and Blues camps

In a release the Highlanders said they had cancelled today's training session, but at this point there has been no decision made on Friday's game in Dunedin.

They said there had been no change to the rest of their schedule this week.

The Highlanders have managed to play four games so far this season, losing all four of them.

However, another postponed game would be a major setback for Moana Pasifika, who have played just one game so far.

They had two games postponed at the start of the season because of Covid-19 in their camp.

Two more deaths, 15,540 new cases and 952 in hospital

Two Covid-related deaths have also been reported and there are 952 people in hospital, including 19 in intensive care.

The average age of people in hospital is currently 58.

Of the two Covid-related deaths, one was in Waikato and one was in Canterbury. Both people were women aged over 70.

The total number of publicly reported Covid-19 related deaths to date is now 115, the ministry said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the whānau and friends of all those who have died."

18,833 new community cases, 597 people in hospital, five deaths

The ministry has reported 18,833 new community cases of Covid-19 today, with 597 people in hospitals, including 10 people who need intensive care.

It said 9789 cases reported today were in Auckland, which recorded more than 13,000 cases yesterday, with health authorities in New Zealand's largest city hoping the Omicron wave had peaked.