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New Zealand restricts entry for Kiwis escaping coronavirus

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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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What we know so far about COVID-19 and children

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President Donald Trump has been censored on Facebook and Twitter after saying children are "almost immune" from COVID-19. What do the facts say?

We know for sure children are less likely to fall seriously ill from the coronavirus, and emerging evidence suggests they're less likely to be infected too.

What's less clear is how much they spread the virus once infected.

- Children rarely become seriously ill -

Under-18s have accounted for just two percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of all deaths in the United States, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Angst-ridden Republicans should have acted when Trump put his reelection above national security concerns: conservative columnist

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Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Senate Republicans are in serious trouble, especially in light of the stimulus bill they rolled out this week.

According to Rubin, the Senate GOP is in dire straits because "they have allowed the anti-government, anti-science Trump sycophants to disclaim any interest in the bill, thereby handing the reins to Democrats."

Rubin writes that some Republicans saying they want to see essential workers being taken care of in the bill are speaking up too late. "If only they they had some power in February to remove the unfit and corrupt president from office, instead of leaving him there to purge witnesses from his administration, seek vengeance on foes, force out inspectors general and botch the response to the coronavirus," Rubin writes.

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Anti-mask GOP lawmaker mocks Ohio governor for testing positive for coronavirus

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Notoriously anti-mask Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale gloated after Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Urbana Republican has questioned masks and opposed other public safety measures imposed by DeWine, also a Republican, and ridiculed the governor after he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus ahead of meeting President Donald Trump.

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