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New Zealand restricts entry for Kiwis escaping coronavirus

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Air New Zealand (Sanka VIDANAGAMA AFP)

New Zealand began restricting the return of its own nationals Tuesday as the country faces an accelerating influx of citizens fleeing coronavirus outbreaks overseas and limited quarantine facilities.

National carrier Air New Zealand put a three-week freeze on new bookings and the government is in talks with other airlines to limit capacity, officials said.

New Zealand has gone 67 days without any cases of coronavirus in the community and its 22 active cases are all in managed quarantine facilities for New Zealanders flocking home from worsening epidemics elsewhere.

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There are nearly 6,000 people currently undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the facilities and another 3,500 are due to arrive this week.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said the government was working to add to its 28 isolation facilities but had to be certain the new sites were fit for purpose.

“Air New Zealand has agreed to put a temporary hold on new bookings in the short term, as well as look at aligning daily arrivals with the capacity available at managed isolation facilities,” Woods said.

“We are seeing rapid growth in the number of New Zealanders coming home as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens,” she added.

“Our number one priority is stopping the virus at the border, so everyone must go into quarantine or managed isolation. The government is also talking to other airlines about managing flows.”

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Since New Zealand went into lockdown in March, nearly 27,000 people have gone through managed isolation and quarantine.

The nation of five million has recorded just under 2,000 cases of COVID-19, 22 of them fatal.


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‘People are dying’: Reporter backs Trump advisor Larry Kudlow into a corner on president’s gross negligence

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Tensions ran high at an outdoor press conference Friday when a reporter asked White House advisor Larry Kudlow, "Where is the President?" and he replied, "I don't understand."

The reporter said, "2,000 people a day are dying of COVID. Where is the President's leadership?"

CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid reported from Washington, D.C. Friday and shared the tweet below. The responses flowed in from there.

https://twitter.com/PaulaReidCBS/status/1334889853276856322

https://twitter.com/CBSThisMorning/status/1334833494762147840?s=20

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‘On the spot’: Fauci confirms he immediately accepted Biden’s offer for chief medical adviser

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) confirmed on Friday that he has accepted President-elect Joe Biden's offer to serve as chief medical adviser as the United States continues its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci appeared on "The Today Show" where he told NBC host Savannah Guthrie that he accepted Biden's offer "on the spot." It has been reported that Fauci will continue his role as the director of the NIAID while leading the country's fight against COVID-19. At one point during the interview, Guthrie asked about the preliminary plan that will be put place during Biden's first 100 days in office.

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Top coronavirus aide warns US vaccination to take time

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The White House coordinator on the coronavirus response cautioned Thursday that vaccinations across the United States will take time, even for the most at risk including around one-third of Americans living with other serious conditions.

"That's probably the most important question right now. It will be a number of weeks, a number of months before the most vulnerable individuals in America" are vaccinated, Deborah Birx told reporters from AFP and AP at the United Nations.

"We have 100 million Americans with significant comorbidities. It is going to take time to get them immunized," she said after meeting Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who led a largely virtual UN summit on the Covid-19 crisis.

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