New Zealand on Monday reported what authorities said was the country’s first recorded death linked to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The information was released by the health ministry following a review by an independent Covid-19 vaccine safety monitoring board of the death of a woman after receiving the vaccine. The board considered that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis, which is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine.
New Zealand will go into lockdown for three days on Wednesday after the country recorded its first coronavirus case in six months. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the nation would be put under strict lockdown after one COVID-19 case was reported in Auckland. The whole of New Zealand will be in lockdown for three days from Wednesday.
A woman alleged to be a Islamic State (IS) member can be repatriated from Turkey, New Zealand has said. New Zealand has agreed to welcome the woman and her two young children, who have been detained in Turkey since February. The decision follows a bitter dispute with Australia over which country needed to shoulder responsibility for the woman, who had been a dual citizen of both countries.
An Auckland airport worker has tested positive for Covid-19 a day after New Zealand opened a reciprocal travel bubble with Australia. The case appears to be unrelated to the travel bubble though, and flights with Australia have not been suspended. Thousands of passengers flew between the two nations on Monday for the first time in more than a year.
New Zealand is to create a travel bubble with Australia allowing quarantine-free visits from 19 April. Both countries have effectively eradicated COVID-19 after closing their borders to the rest of the world. While most Australian states had allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealanders for months, the Wellington government had continued to enforce an isolation restriction for its neighbor, due to concerns about small COVID-19 outbreaks there.
New Zealand’s cabinet has agreed to establish a quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia in the first quarter of 2021, the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said. The Australian health minister Greg Hunt enthusiastically greeted the in-principle announcement, saying it was the “first step” in normalizing international travel and anticipated the Australian government was “absolutely” likely to grant the necessary approvals.
New Zealand’s security agencies were “almost exclusively” focused on the threat from Islamist terrorism at the time of the 2019 Christchurch shooting, in which a gunman shot dead 51 Muslim worshippers, an inquiry into the country’s worst peacetime massacre has found. The landmark Christchurch royal commission report, which was released on Tuesday after 20 months of consultation, also revealed police failed to enforce proper checks on firearm licenses.
The acting Prime Minister Winston Peters of New Zealand accused Australia of copying the country’s 116-year-old flag, demanding Australia create a new design. The demand comes after New Zealand spent $17 million on a failed referendum to choose a new flag. New Zealand’s flag was adopted five decades before the official recognition of Australia’s flag.
New Zealand has entered level two of lockdown easing – and the country is open for business. Shopping centers, retail stores and restaurants reopened as of midnight with many people returning their workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic. But most gatherings will be limited to 10 people and social distancing guidelines will remain in place under the level two restrictions.
The Australian man charged with murdering 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has suddenly changed his plea to admit all charges at a hastily arranged court appearance. The man accused of the shootings, Brenton Tarrant, a former gym instructor from Australia, was charged with the murders and had maintained a not-guilty plea throughout. His trial was set down for the 2 June in Christchurch high court.