Morning Briefing April 27: Another bubble decision due, while countries rush to India's aid

A decision is due on quarantine-free travel with Western Australia, countries rush to aid India as Covid-19 engulfs the nation, and Fair Go revisits the issue of what's in NZ's beef mince.

Source: Associated Press

The Government will decide today if quarantine-free travel between Western Australia and New Zealand can resume after a snap three-day lockdown in the Perth region lifted overnight.

No new community cases have been reported, however, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says New Zealand officials are waiting for more test results before making a decision. Air New Zealand has already cancelled its flight to Perth this evening.

Some restrictions will remain in Perth and Peel for the rest of the week, while the state government is also moving to reduce the number of return travellers currently accepted there.

Meanwhile, some in the tourism industry say they’re still waiting for the trans-Tasman boost they’ve all been hoping for.

ChristchurchNZ destination and attraction general manager Loren Heaphy told Stuff Australian travellers have trickled into the South Island over the first week of the travel bubble but says most have been visiting loved ones rather than tourist attractions.

Others are thought to be exploiting the bubble to return to their lives elsewhere.

Australians have been banned from going overseas unless they have an exemption, but some are now reportedly using the travel corridor to New Zealand to fly out to other countries. 

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World rallies to India's aid

Meanwhile, Australia is reportedly set to ban all flights from India as Covid-19 continues to engulf the country, with Australia’s National Security Committee meeting about the issue today. 

Such a move would leave thousands of Australians stranded, including several leading cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League competition.

However, Australia is joining the countries offering to send aid and oxygen to India to help ease their health crisis.

A ferocious second wave of Covid-19 has overwhelmed India’s hospitals, with the coronavirus now killing one person every four minutes in the nation’s capital.

India’s graveyards and crematoriums are also buckling under the strain, with one official in Bhopal telling AP, “The virus is swallowing our city’s people like a monster.”

Concerns raised over contraception 

Medical experts claim there's not enough of a push from the Ministry of Health to offer contraception to young people.

New research from the University of Otago shows just over half of New Zealand’s sexually active adolescents consistently use contraception, with our teenage pregnancy rate among the highest in developed countries.

Lead researcher Rebecca Duncan says the current system for providing young people with contraception isn’t working, with barriers like social stigma, the cost of seeing a GP, and getting time out of school. She’s calling for a more proactive model to reduce some of those barriers.

Fair Go revisits mince issue

Beef mince may be a Kiwi staple, but consumers have little say over how lean or fatty it really is.

A Fair Go investigation in 2015 found the fat content in mince was out of control with one butchery using illegal sulphites to pretty up their portions. The show returned to that investigation last night to see if anything has changed.

They shopped for mince at six different stores around Tāmaki Makaurau and found that fat content can vary greatly, depending on where it’s been bought from.

You can read more about that shopping expedition here, including the retailer whose mince tested positive for sulphites and sulphur dioxide.

Meanwhile, Fair Go’s food special last night also compared how Kiwi supermarket prices stack up to those in Australia, the UK and the US. You can find that report here.

Myrtle rust threatens taonga

The country's largest and oldest pōhutukawa, Te Waha o Rerekohu, could soon succumb to myrtle rust.

Four years after the windborne disease is believed to have first blown to our shores from Australia, 1 NEWS has visited the East Cape to see the rapid devastation it’s caused to cherished tree species in Te Araroa.

Local iwi now say the Government needs to step in to help protect an important part of Te Ao Māori and the local economy before it’s too late.

Other news of note this morning:

- Fiji’s capital is in lockdown for the next two weeks with 12 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in the island nation last night.  

- The BBC reports Boris Johnson suggested he would rather see "bodies pile high" than put the UK into a third lockdown last year. Johnson has denied making the remark. 

- The EU has launched legal action against AstraZeneca over vaccine shortfalls within the 27-nation bloc. 

- Tokyo Olympic organisers and the IOC are to unveil plans this week to explain how 15,400 athletes can compete in Japan during the pandemic.

- Supply and shipping delays mean a cat and dog food shortage is now being seen on New Zealand shelves.

- There are calls for the Whangārei township of Kamo to get a new name.

- A man has a pool noodle and the police to thank after his dinghy sunk in rough Wellington seas yesterday.

- And it’s been a big 24 hours for pool noodle news, with a four-year-old boy crowned the ‘Ultimate Josh’ after hundreds of people named Josh battled it out with pool noodles in Nebraska.

And finally...

Oscar winners Yuh-Jung Youn, Daniel Kaluuya, and Frances McDormand. Source: Associated Press

Covid-19 made for a very different Academy Awards ceremony yesterday, although some things stayed the same, including the usual rundown of red-carpet fashion (where we should all hail the queen, Regina King, this year).

Nomadland actor Frances McDormand literally howled with delight as the film took out Best Picture, while its director, Chloé Zhao, made history with her own Oscar win.

Meanwhile, Daniel Kaluuya raised a few chuckles with his acceptance speech after winning Best Supporting Actor.

You can watch some of it here, where he celebrates being alive because his parents “had sex”. You can also see the cameras capture his family’s reaction to the quip as his sister slumps with mortification and his mother asks, "What is he talking about?"