The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday November 2.

Australia celebrates zero local cases of coronavirus.

Over the weekend, Australia celebrated its first day with no new cases of coronavirus nationally since June 9.

The entire country went 24 hours without a new locally acquired case of COVID-19 between 8pm Friday and 8pm Saturday.

It was the fourth time in the past week Victoria recorded no new cases at all.

In more good news for Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt says we're close to securing two more sources for a coronavirus vaccine, which he expects will start rolling out in 2021.

So far the Morrison government has two vaccine contracts in place - the Oxford-AstraZeneca for 33.8 million units and the University of Queensland-CSL for 51 million units.

"The results from both of those have actually been positive, more positive than we had expected," Mr Hunt told reporters on Sunday.

"We are now close to additional contracts and there are two further ones on the advice of the medical expert panel which are being pursued and which I am confident will be completed within the coming weeks if not earlier."

The federal government has launched its "How's Your Head Today?" campaign, which urges people to prioritise their mental health.

It aims to raise awareness about how to identify when something is wrong, and encourages people to seek help.

The campaign will be launched on TV and radio, in shopping centres and other venues, online and through social media, and will continue through to next year.

Victoria to quash active virus cases and consider more freedoms.

Victoria is on the verge of quashing active coronavirus cases to low double digits, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton predicts, after a COVID-free weekend.

Active cases ballooned above 7000 in mid-August as the state desperately tried to reign in its rampant second wave.


That figure has been whittled down to just 61 following consecutive days without recording a single new infection or death on Saturday and Sunday.

Professor Sutton expects active cases to tumble further, suggesting it could fall to "a couple of dozen" by next week.

He also hinted another strong week of data could result in cap limits and density quotas for some industries being raised higher than initially outlined.

More restrictions are due to ease in Melbourne next Sunday, including the scrapping of the so-called "ring of steel" dividing the city from the regions and the 25km travel limit.

Although the encouraging case numbers won't mean that date is brought forward, Prof Sutton said authorities would mull over changes that go beyond those previously announced.

Re-elected QLD Labor govt works on budget.

Queensland's re-elected premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already started working on a state budget.

Labor is on track to hold as many as 52 seats - up four on its previous numbers - as vote counting from Saturday's state election continues on Monday.

The Liberal National Party appear to have lost a net four seats, taking its numbers to 34 in the 93-seat chamber.

Premier Palaszczuk has won her third term. Image: Jono Searle/Getty. 

The premier has won a third term, making her Australia's most successful female political leader.


Ms Palaszczuk says putting together a state budget is her first priority.

Labor didn't deliver a budget because the federal budget, which includes crucial GST forecasts, wasn't delivered until October 6 when the state government was already in caretaker mode ahead of the election.

"We'll be getting down to business tomorrow. I've already contacted the deputy premier and the treasurer," said Premier Palaszczuk .

"We will be hitting the ground running tomorrow morning. We'll be rolling up our sleeves getting back to work and starting on the budget."

Queensland is preparing to reopen its border to all of NSW except greater Sydney from tomorrow.

Queensland hail storms declared 'catastrophe'.

A catastrophe has been declared in Queensland, with insurers inundated with hailstorm damage claims.

Severe thunderstorms hammered the state's southeast on Saturday, dropping tennis ball-sized hail on some areas.

The Insurance Council of Australia had received over 5000 claims to 2pm on Sunday, with insured losses estimated at $60 million.


Motor vehicles make up 60 per cent of the claims to date, while the rest relate to house damage including to roofs, skylights and solar panels.

"The catastrophe declaration means insurers will prioritise claims from these hail-affected areas and will direct urgent attention to those most in need of assistance," ICA CEO Andrew Hall said on Sunday.

It's the first catastrophe declaration for the 2020-21 natural disaster season, but southeast Queensland has been a hotspot for damaging storms in recent years.

Early US voting surges to record 90m.

A record 90 million Americans have voted early in the US presidential election, data shows, as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden campaign across the country to try to sway the few remaining undecided voters.

The high number of early voters, about 65 per cent of the total turnout in 2016, reflects intense interest in the contest, with two days of campaigning left.

Concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at busy election day voting places on Tuesday have also pushed up the numbers of people voting by mail or at early in-person polling sites.

The Republican president is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticising public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.

Opinion polls show Trump trailing former vice-president Biden nationally but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.


The president’s eldest son called on his father’s supporters to "get out there, have some fun".

A Biden event had to be cancelled in Texas on Friday after coming under threat from Trump supporters, with Donald Trump Jnr telling supporters days earlier: "It’d be great if you guys would all get together, head down to McAllen and give Kamala Harris a nice Trump Train welcome."

England's lockdown might need to be extended.

The UK is going back into lockdown for four weeks until December 2, but a senior government minister has warned it might be extended if coronavirus infection rates don't fall quickly enough.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said it was the government's "fervent hope" that the lockdown would end on time, but that could not be guaranteed.


Britain has the worst virus death toll in Europe, with over 46,500 dead, and on Saturday it passed one million confirmed coronavirus cases.

Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants can only offer take-out, non-essential shops must close and people will only be able to leave home for essential reasons. Schools, universities and construction sites will remain open.

Death toll from Turkish quake reaches 62.

A 70-year-old man has been pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in the Turkish city of Izmir after being buried for 33 hours following a powerful earthquake which struck Turkey's Aegean coast and Greek islands.

Turkish authorities reported more deaths on Sunday, bringing the toll to 62, all in Izmir, while two teenagers also died on the Greek island of Samos.

The death toll continues to rise in Turkey, as more bodies are pulled from the rubble after a 6.6 magnitute earthquake. Image: Sergen Sezgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty. 

Rescue and emergency teams have been working through the wrecked buildings for two days and President Tayyip Erdogan said his government was "determined to heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Izmir before the cold and rains begin."

More than 3,000 tents and 13,000 beds have been supplied to provide temporary shelter, according to Turkey's disasters and emergency agency AFAD, which said 940 people had been injured in Friday's earthquake.

Rescuers search the rubble. Image: Burak Kara/Getty. 

New report: 'COVID-size climate risk every year.'


A new analysis by Deloitte Access Economics indicates that the Australian economy will be six per cent smaller and have 880,000 fewer jobs by 2070 if nothing is done.

That would be a $3.4 trillion loss in present value terms, it says.

Deloitte Australia chief economist Chris Richardson says the COVID pandemic showed the cost of overlooking catastrophic risks.

"So it's an urgent wake-up call for us to get ahead of that other big risk - climate change," he says.

The report shows there is $680 billion dividend should Australia rise to the challenge along with 250,000 more jobs.

Mr Richardson says the best and most effective way to tackle climate change is through market mechanisms.

Around the world.

- Six people have been arrested in connection with the knife attack that left three people dead at a church in Nice, France.

- A man 'in medieval clothes' has been arrested after two people were killed in a mass stabbing in Quebec, Canada. 

- With AAP

Feature image: Jono Searle/Getty/Sergen Sezgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty/Asanka Ratnayake/Getty.