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NZ ditches COVID elimination strategy as delta sweeps

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New Zealand has dropped its COVID elimination strategy insisting the nation will learn to live with the virus

New Zealand officially abandoned its strategy of eliminating COVID-19 moving to ease some restrictions in the city of Auckland.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the nation will instead look to live with the virus while controlling its spread.

The Pacific nation was among just a handful of countries to bring COVID-19 cases down to zero last year and largely stayed virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infections Delta variant in mid-August frustrated efforts to stamp out transmission.

“With this outbreak and Delta the return to zero is incredibly difficult,”

Ardern told a news conference.

“This is a change in approach we were always going to make over time. Our Delta outbreak has accelerated this transition. Vaccines will support it,”

Health authorities reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total number in the current outbreak to 1,357.

The majority of the cases are in Auckland, which has been in lockdown for nearly 50 days

Amid mounting pressure, the Prime Minister has said her strategy was never to have zero cases, but to aggressively stamp out the virus.

Strict lockdowns will end once 90% of the eligible population is vaccinated

“It’s clear that a long period of heavy restrictions has not got us to zero cases. But its ok…elimination was important because we didn’t have vaccinations. Now we do. So we can begin to change the way we do things,”

Under new changes in Auckland, people will be able to leave their homes to connect with loved ones outdoors from Wednesday, with a limit of 10 people.

Qantas staff talk to passengers onboard a flight bound for Auckland on April 19.

New rules added to international arrivals:

The government also announced that all foreign nationals entering New Zealand will need to be fully vaccinated from November 1.

Travellers will have to declare their vaccination status when registering with the country’s isolation system and provide proof of vaccination or exemption to their airline and customs officers on landing, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.

“To further reduce the possibility of the virus getting through our border, we are introducing the requirement for air travellers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to be fully vaccinated to enter New Zealand,”

Hipkins said

Those arriving in New Zealand will still have to spend 14 days in quarantine, and all travelers, except for those coming from locations with an exemption, will still need  to show a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of their first scheduled international flight. 

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Business

Amazon turns to deforestation in Africa

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Amazon’s founder and CEO is no stranger to making headlines, and his latest venture is sure to turn some heads.

Bezos is looking to help reverse deforestation on 100 million acres of land in Africa by 2030.

The billionaire’s philanthropic organisation, the Bezos Earth Fund, is championing the cause and working with African Union countries to make it happen.

If successful, it would be a major win for the environment and help preserve some of Africa’s most biodiverse and threatened ecosystems.

So why is Bezos focusing on Africa?

Well, the continent is home to some of the world’s most endangered species and its ecosystems are under immense pressure from human activity.

His organisation’s efforts could help to protect these animals and their habitats, while also providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.

It comes as the Earth Fund’s CEO says richer countries are going to have to step up the support for their struggling counterparts…

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Four killed in Himalayas avalanche

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At least four people have been killed and dozens more are missing after an avalanche hit a group of mountaineers high in the Indian Himalayas.

The avalanche victims were part of a group of 34 trainees and seven instructors who were practicing navigation at the time.

The students were from different parts of India, and had come to the Himalayas for a mountaineering course.

So far, eight people have been rescued, while the rest are trapped in a crevasse.

Search efforts have been paused for the night due to intense rain and snowfall.

Local media reports say the number of casualties may rise significantly as further details emerge.

It comes just one week after American professional skier, Hilaree Nelson was also found in the Nepali Himalayas.

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Trump calls on Supreme Court to end raid probe

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Former President Donald Trump filed an emergency appeal at the Supreme Court over the FBI raid on his Mar-A-Lago estate.

Trump wants the court to temporarily block the Justice Department from reviewing classified documents seized at his Florida estate in early August.

The appeal came days after a three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals said investigators could retain the classified documents and review them as part of a criminal investigation.

Despite nominating three associate justices during his time in the White House – Trump’s record at the Supreme Court hasn’t been too successful.

The high court repeatedly refused pro-Trump efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election.

The litigation stems from an Aug. 8 FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, which came as part of a federal investigation into allegations he took classified documents from the White House.

Because the case is filed on the Supreme Court’s emergency docket, the justices could resolve the dispute relatively quickly – potentially within a matter of days.

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