The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Wednesday July 28.

Prime Minister announces increase to disaster support payment.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new financial support for workers after a four-week lockdown extension in Greater Sydney was confirmed by NSW Government.

People in NSW who have lost more than 20 hours of work will get an increase of $150 a week, which takes them to $750 - the same as JobKeeper when it was initially introduced. 

Those who have lost fewer than 20 hours will receive an extra $75 a week, taking them to $450 a week.  

The Prime Minister added: "In addition to that, we will be extending support to those who are on welfare payments and they will be able to receive a payment if they have lost more than eight hours of $200."

Sydney facing four week lockdown extension.

The Greater Sydney lockdown is expected to be extended four more weeks as NSW government authorities adjust some coronavirus restrictions for construction and other sectors.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet met on Tuesday to put together a roadmap out of the health emergency that has engulfed Sydney and surrounding regions since late June.

But cabinet opted to extend the lockdown for four weeks, multiple media outlets have reported, which will be a blow for already struggling businesses.

That would set a new end date of August 28 - nine weeks after the city first entered the severe restrictions. It was due to end on July 30.

The construction industry - abruptly shut down on July 19 due to significant workplace transmissions - could be reopened on Saturday but with some restrictions.

A singles bubble is also likely to be introduced for people on their own, while the government is also believed to be considering rapid antigen testing for Year 12 students and essential workers.


The details will be announced on Wednesday at Ms Berejiklian's regular 11am press conference.

Victoria emerges from its fifth lockdown.

Victoria has emerged from its fifth lockdown with a slew of new restrictions aimed at keeping the Delta COVID-19 variant at bay.

From Wednesday, Victorians will be able to travel any distance and leave their homes for any reason, but masks will remain compulsory indoors and outdoors.

A ban on home gatherings remains, however people are able to gather outside in groups of 10.

Restaurants and cafes can reopen for seated service only, with a maximum cap of 100 per venue and density quotas of one person per 4sqm, while smaller venues are limited to 25 people.

Retail, live music venues and gyms can also throw open their doors with strict density limits, workers may return to offices at 25 per cent capacity and students can return to school. 

However, the business community is warning many venues may not be able to open under the new rules, which are expected to remain in place for two weeks.

Business to rebuild after SA lockdown.

South Australia has emerged from its COVID-19 lockdown with the state's peak business group saying it's time for traders to "rebuild once again".

The state's week-long shutdown ended at one minute past midnight on Wednesday amid confidence the latest cluster of coronavirus infections has been contained.

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese says 2500 emergency support payments have already gone out to local companies that are unlikely to salvage any of the money lost from the forced closure over the past seven days.


SA has kept a range of heightened restrictions including a general density requirement of one person to every four square metres.

Masks must be worn in high-risk settings, such as aged care centres and personal care services, in medical services, on public transport and in all indoor public places, including supermarkets.

All food and drink consumption must be seated and dancing and singing remain banned.

Family gatherings are limited to 10 people, although weddings and funerals can have up to 50.

Schools will reopen on Wednesday and secondary students will also be required to wear masks.

Sports training can resume, but competitions will be delayed until August 7.

The new restrictions will remain in place for at least a week.

Fresh questions on virus vaccine supplies.

Immunisation rates continue to tick higher with 16.7 per cent of Australians now fully vaccinated against the disease which has killed 920 people nationally.

The Morrison government has added pharmacists to the priority skilled migrant list ahead of thousands of chemists joining the immunisation effort. But there are fresh concerns about the federal government's vaccine portfolio with questions over mooted Moderna and Novavax.

Between 87,000 and 125,000 weekly doses of Moderna were forecast to join the rollout in September if the medicines regulator approves it for use.

That is expected to rise to 430,000 to 615,000 a week in the final three months of the year.


However, South Korea, which has a contract for 40 million Moderna doses, has revealed its delivery schedule will be delayed because of manufacturing issues in Europe.

Earlier in the week, Health Minister Greg Hunt expressed confidence in Moderna deliveries.

He also confirmed initial doses of Novavax, which is also yet to be approved, were on track to arrive in Australia before the end of the year.

Novavax is now seen as a booster rather than a primary vaccine which it was previously considered.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the change in strategy showed the vast bulk of that vaccine wouldn't arrive until next year.

Pfizer imports and locally produced AstraZeneca shots are the cornerstone of the vaccine strategy with people being encouraged to receive jabs.

Gymnastics superstar Simone Biles pulls out of team gymnastics final.

Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles withdrew from the team finals in Tokyo on Tuesday citing mental health concerns, breaking down in tears as the US went on to claim silver in the event.

The 24-year-old is considered to be one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, and was seen with a team doctor after landing awkwardly off the vault. She then exited the competition floor, with the Americans forced to finish the rest of the competition without her.

USA Gymnastics said Simone had withdrawn "due to a medical issue," with the athlete confirming later to NBC, "physically I feel good, I'm in shape. Emotionally ... that kind of varies on the time and the moment."


"Whenever you get in a high stress situation you kind of freak out," she said. "I have to focus on my mental health and not jeopardise my health and wellbeing," she said.

"We have to protect our body and our mind.

"It just sucks when you're fighting with your own head.

"For me, I'm proud for how the girls stepped up and did what they had to do. I owe this to the girls, it has nothing to do with me. I am very proud of them."

Australian swim ace Titmus eyes more gold.

Ariarne Titmus meets American foe Katie Ledecky for the 200m freestyle gold medal as Australia enter Wednesday's competition with three gold, one silver and five bronze medals.

And much of the Tokyo Olympics will pause for the reprise of their heroic 400m freestyle final, when the Australian pipped the American great.

"I enjoy racing Katie - it's exciting for everyone and myself," Titmus said after her 200m semi-final.

"But the 200 is not just Katie and I. It's a very strong field ... it's anyone's race."


Titmus' medal race headlines action at the pool on a day when cycling star Rohan Dennis rides for Olympic redemption in the road time trial.

The women's four are big medal chances in rowing after posting the fastest qualifying time.

The men's fours will try to dethrone Great Britain, who have won every gold medal in the event since Sydney.

It's a busy day for tennis star Ash Barty - after she and John Peers play Argentina in the opening round of the mixed doubles, the world No.1 and Storm Sanders will take on the Czech Republic in the women's doubles quarter-finals.

On Tuesday, Kaylee McKeown, 20, blitzed home to win the 100m backstroke final with an Olympic record time.

"It's definitely something that people dream of — it's something I have dreamed of, too," McKeown told Channel Seven after the race.


Around the world.

- Tokyo has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 infections in a day since the pandemic began amid reports authorities have asked hospitals to prepare more beds for patients.

The Olympic host city's 2,848 COVID-19 infections on Tuesday threatens to further erode support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and spells trouble for the Games, as many Japanese fear the influx of athletes and officials for the event could add to the surge.

- The United Kingdom has reported its highest number of deaths and people in hospital with coronavirus since March, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging caution despite a week of lower reported numbers of infection.

- Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 18, has received the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Sweden, about 77 per cent of all adults have received at least one jab.

- Instagram has introduced new features to protect young users including limiting access to the accounts of children, defaulting their accounts to private and limiting the ways advertisers can target them.

- With AAP

Feature image: Joel Carrett-Pool/Getty/Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times/Wang Jingqiang/Xinhua.