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Victoria to enter a snap seven-day lockdown from tonight.

Victoria to enter a snap seven-day lockdown.

Victoria will enter its sixth lockdown following new COVID-19 mystery cases in recent days. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lockdown will start from 8pm on Thursday and last for seven days. 

The premier said the "difficult decision" was made to enter lockdown tonight to avoid a potentially longer lockdown in the future. 

"I want to make it very clear, we only get one chance to act fast, only one chance to make difficult decisions that are the right decision," he said. 

"I would prefer we didn’t have to make this decision now. But my fear is if we were to wait a few days and the advice to me from the experts if we were to wait even just a few days, there is every chance, instead of being locked down for a week, this gets away from us, we are potentially locked down until we all get vaccinated. That’s months away."

Under the lockdown, Victorians will only be allowed to leave home for five essential reasons: shopping for groceries and supplies, exercise, care or caregiving, getting vaccinated or authorised work or education that cannot be done from home. 

There will also be a five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping.

The news comes as the state recorded eight new locally acquired infections on Thursday.

"I can't tell you how disappointed I am to have to be here doing this again," said Andrews. 

"But with so few in the community with one vaccination, let alone two, I have no choice but to accept advice, and we collectively [have] to make this important decision to keep Victorians safe."

Government extends COVID support as Labor suggests cash incentive to get vaccinated. 

The federal government will focus on measures to limit damage to the economy as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in NSW and Queensland.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will on Tuesday introduce to federal parliament a draft law to make changes to worker and business support.

Labor will support the bill if it is consistent with what the government has previously said it would do.

It is understood the bill will allow the roll out of national business support payments for those impacted by significant lockdowns and make the payments tax-free.

While the focus of the debate will be on the government's pandemic response, health authorities' concerns are growing about the impact on children - especially those with underlying medical conditions.

Approval has now been given for children as young as 12 who have impaired immune systems or come from other vulnerable groups to get priority access to Pfizer vaccines.

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Health Minister Greg Hunt said this meant about 220,000 children would be able to get a Pfizer vaccine.

A broader step to approve the vaccination of all children aged 12 to 15 for COVID-19 could be given within weeks.

Labor says the federal government should offer a $300 payment to fully vaccinated Australians to give the program a much-needed shot in the arm.

There are concerns the COVID-19 vaccination program, which so far has delivered 12.4 million doses, has been too slow and is putting Australia's health and economic recovery at risk.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese wants the Morrison government to provide a one-off payment to every person who has been fully vaccinated by December 1. This would include those who have already been vaccinated.

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But coalition frontbencher Simon Birmingham says the proposal is "insulting" to the many Australians who have already turned out to get their jabs.

Plot to oust government and replace AFP thwarted.

Counter-terrorism officers have thwarted a bizarre plot to overthrow the Morrison government, install a new federal police force and arrest senior MPs and bureaucrats.

Police involved in raids across three states on Saturday sought to downplay the alleged coup plot, saying there's nothing to suggest those behind it had the ability to execute it.

But AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Andrew Donoghoe said the group's intentions were made clear in a fake video that's been circulating online, purporting to feature AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw.

A haul of 470 fake Australian Federal Police badges linked to one group member has also been found dumped in a Cairns creek.

The video, which falsely claims to carry the voice of Commissioner Kershaw, calls on like-minded people to band together and oust the government.

"They wanted to establish a separate Australian Federal Police force," Mr Donoghoe told reporters on Monday.

"They had issued several warrants for a number of high-profile government people and they intended to execute those arrest warrants on those people."

A 49-year-old man was arrested in the Perth suburb of Tuart Hill when counter-terrorism officers raided two properties in the city on Saturday.

He's been charged with one count of impersonating a Commonwealth public official during an unsuccessful attempt to obtain stamps and ID badges, bearing the official AFP logo, from a commercial business.

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More charges are expected in coming days.

NSW numbers remain high as Sydney nursing home cases explode. 

A COVID-19 outbreak at an inner west Sydney nursing home has reached 20 people as the residents of an entire floor are shifted to hospital.

20 virus cases were uncovered at Wyoming Nursing Home in Summer Hill, including 18 residents and two staff members.

Seven of the 18 infected residents were unvaccinated. Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters on Monday that a 'Christmas in July' event was linked to the spread of the virus in the facility.

Another contract staffer at another nursing home, St Hedwig Village at Blacktown has also reportedly tested positive. No other cases have been identified so far. 

The union for independent school staff in NSW, meanwhile, has called on the government to rethink its Year 12 reopening plan for August 16.

NSW recorded 207 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, as well as the outbreak's 15th death - a man in his 90s.

40 per cent were in southwest Sydney and 25 per cent were in western Sydney. At least 72 of the cases were in the community while infectious.

About 460,000 shots were administered in NSW last week, meaning 41 per cent of the state's adult population is now at least partly vaccinated.

Queensland outbreak expected to grow.

Queensland is bracing for more coronavirus cases as authorities warn the situation will continue to escalate with concern centred on two schools that have recorded positive cases.

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The state is grappling with the most serious threat it has faced since the start of the pandemic after 15 new cases were recorded on Monday, the highest daily total in almost a year.

A snap three-day lockdown impacting millions of people, which was due to end on Tuesday, has been extended by five days to at least 4pm on Sunday.

There are now several high-risk exposure sites including six schools and public transport routes.

Two schools, Ironside State school and Indooroopilly State High School, are of particular concern after several students returned positive tests.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young warned she's expecting "a lot" of new cases in coming days due to new infections being found in unvaccinated children who are more likely to pass the virus on.

The state government has announced support payments of $5000 for small and medium businesses hit by the lockdown, as Acting Premier Steven Miles warned employers not to misrepresent people as essential workers when they were not.

Lambda variant 'shows vaccine resistance'.

The Lambda variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Peru and now spreading in South America, is highly infectious and more resistant to vaccines than the original version of the virus first detected in Wuhan, China, Japanese researchers say.

In laboratory experiments, they found that three mutations in Lambda's spike protein, known as RSYLTPGD246-253N, 260 L452Q and F490S, help it resist neutralisation by vaccine-induced antibodies. 

Two additional mutations, T76I and L452Q, help make Lambda highly infectious, they concluded.

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In a paper posted on Wednesday on bioRxiv ahead of peer review, the researchers warn that with Lambda being labelled a "Variant of Interest" by the World Health Organisation rather than a "Variant of Concern," people might not realise it is a serious ongoing threat. 

Although it is not clear yet whether this variant is more dangerous than the Delta now threatening populations in many countries, senior researcher Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo said "Lambda can be a potential threat to the human society".

Australia maintains fourth spot on the Tokyo medal tally as oldest Aussie Olympic medallist claims silver. 

Andrew Hoy has become Australia's oldest ever Olympic medallist at the age of 62, after winning a silver medal as part of the equestrian eventing team.

Hours later, Hoy won bronze in the individual eventing event.

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The Matildas' dreams of Olympic gold have been dashed in heartbreaking fashion with a 1-0 defeat to Sweden in their semi-final. The Hockeyroos' gold medal hopes were also dashed with a massive quarter-final upset loss to India.

Monday was also a brutal day for the track cycling team, with Alex Porter crashing in men's team pursuit qualifying because of a stunning equipment failure. 

The Australian women’s basketball team qualified for the Tokyo Olympic quarter-finals in dramatic fashion on Monday evening. They needed to defeat Puerto Rico by at least 25 points to keep their Olympic campaign alive, managing a 96-69 victory - scoring the final basket with less than 30 seconds to go.

Middle distance powerhouse Stewart McSweyn begins his bid to win Australia's first Olympic 1500m medal in more than six decades in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The versatile 26-year-old from King Island qualified for the Tokyo Games in three events but has chosen to focus solely on the 1500m, believing it's his best chance of claiming a spot on the podium.

Around the world.

- There have been reunions at London's Heathrow Airport, after Britain reopened its borders this week to large parts of the world, scrapping quarantine for fully vaccinated arrives from the US and the EU.

- A Belarusian Olympic sprinter plans to seek asylum in Poland after alleging that officials tried to force her home from Japan and that she feared for her safety. 

The standoff apparently began after Krystsina Tsimanouskaya criticised how officials were managing her team.

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- The divorce between Bill and Melinda Gates has been finalised, with the couple parting ways after 27 years. They are co-founders of the world's largest private charitable foundations, and have pledged to continue that work together. 

- with AAP

Feature image: Getty/Julian Finney/Getty/James D. Morgan/Getty. 

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