"It will explode." Melbourne lockdown extended for seven days.

"It will explode." Melbourne lockdown extended for seven days. 

Melbourne's lockdown will be extended for another week as authorities remain concerned about the transmission of the Indian variant of COVID-19 between strangers.

Acting Premier James Merlino on Wednesday confirmed Greater Melbourne will remain in lockdown for seven more days.

But restrictions are poised to ease in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Thursday night.

Melbourne residents will continue to have only five reasons to leave home: to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, for exercise, work or study, or to get vaccinated.

The five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping, and compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors, will also remain in place.

However, travel restrictions in regional Victoria will be lifted, as will the five reasons for leaving home.

Acting Premier Merlino said: “Our teams are working harder than ever to test, trace, and isolate every case. 

“If we let this thing run its course, it will explode. We’ve got to run this to ground, because if we don’t, people will die.”

He added: “At the end of another seven days, we do expect to be in a position to carefully ease restrictions in Melbourne. 

“But there will continue to be differences between the settings in Melbourne, compared to regional Victoria.”

The state government will extend its support for business, with an extra $209 million in grants.

The "circuit-breaker" lockdown was meant to end at 11.59pm on Thursday.

Victoria recorded six new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the latest outbreak to 60 active infections. 

Of the five new cases, one is a person who travelled to NSW while potentially infectious.

There are now 4800 close contacts self-isolating as part of the outbreak and more than 350 exposure sites across the state, including country petrol stations in Euroa, Glenrowan and Wallan.

In the 24 hours to midnight, 51,033 people were tested for COVID-19 and 20,585 were vaccinated.

Meanwhile, aged care and disability workers in Victoria will be able to jump the queue at 10 vaccination centres across the state from Wednesday as part of a five-day jab blitz.

Express lanes exclusively for aged care and disability staff will open from 9am to 4pm, with workers needing to show proof of employment.

It follows three positive COVID-19 cases linked to Arcare Maidstone aged care facility, which have exposed gaps in private aged care vaccinations among workers and residents.


'Stranger' cases may keep Vic in lockdown.

Concerning cases of coronavirus transmission between strangers are threatening to keep Victorians in lockdown longer than a week.

Victoria recorded three new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday - the fifth day of the state's seven-day "circuit breaker" lockdown - bringing the latest outbreak to 54 active infections.

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed two of the new infections are close contacts of positive cases, while the other is yet to be linked directly.

The state's COVID testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the man lives near Stratton Finance in Port Melbourne, where a number of positive cases worked.

"He has exposure in the number of coffee shops around there also frequented by Stratton Finance employees ... that appears to be enough to get the infection across," he said. 

Mr Weimar said there have been at least four instances of "stranger-to-stranger transmission" in this outbreak.

"People are brushing past each other in a small shop, they are going to display homes, they are looking at phones in a Telstra shop," he said. 

While stressing no decision has been made, Mr Foley said evidence of the Indian variant's heightened infectiousness and faster spread would factor into a final call on whether to extend the lockdown beyond Thursday.

Professor Sutton's public health team is strongly leaning toward recommending a lockdown extension as senior government ministers received a high-level briefing on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports.

There are more than 300 exposure sites across the state and 4800 primary close contacts linked to the outbreak, with 75 per cent of those returning a negative test.


NSW virus alert for Jervis Bay area

NSW Health is boosting coronavirus testing in the Jervis Bay area and has issued a list of venues of concern after a potentially infectious person visited from Melbourne. 

Victorian health officials notified NSW Health of the confirmed case who visited Jervis Bay, Goulburn, Hyams Beach and Vincentia on May 23 and 24.

The person reported the onset of symptoms on May 25, having driven back to Melbourne on May 24.

NSW Health is urging anyone who visited the venues of concern at the times listed on the department's website to get in contact, to get tested and to isolate until they receive further instructions. 

The venues include the Green Patch campground and Booderee National Park at Jervis Bay, the Cooked Goose Cafe at Hyams Beach, Coles Vincentia Shopping Village and Trapper's Bakery and Shell Coles Express Big Merino at Goulburn.  

SA MP Duluk on trial over bum slap claim.

A South Australian MP says she was shocked and embarrassed after drunken fellow MP Sam Duluk allegedly slapped her bottom at a parliament house Christmas Party, a court has been told.

The former Liberal has gone on trial in Adelaide Magistrates Court charged with one count of assault over the incident in December 2019.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.


In her evidence, Ms Bonaros said Duluk had approached her from the side or from behind and had "proceeded to put his arm around me and whack me on the bottom". 

"My next instinct after he did what he did was first to find my feet and then to tell Mr Duluk to sit the f*** down," she said.

The court heard that when the pair were seated, Ms Bonaros asked Duluk what he was doing, telling him "do you think because you are some sort of Liberal powerbroker you can do whatever you want?".

She said she felt shocked and extremely embarrassed after the incident.

The SA-BEST MP had previously detailed to the court a number of earlier incidents at the party involving Duluk including one where he lifted her up in the air as a photo was being taken and another where she was sitting down and he "hoisted" her chair up.

At one stage he also poured ice down the front of her dress, she said.

Duluk was banished from the Liberal party room over his alleged behaviour and suspended his wider Liberal Party membership.

But a parliamentary inquiry launched into his conduct was put on hold while the police investigations were underway. He has continued to sit in parliament's House of Assembly as an independent.

The trial will continue on Wednesday.

Victorian aged care to be vaccine fast-tracked.

All Victorian aged care and disability workers will soon be able to jump the queue at mass vaccination centres. 

In Senate estimates on Tuesday, it was revealed less than 10 per cent of nursing home staff across Australia have been vaccinated through federal government visits.

Victoria's Disability, Ageing and Carers Minister Luke Donnellan said the state government would step in to stimulate greater coverage with a five-day blitz.


From Wednesday to Sunday, express lanes will be opened for aged care and disability workers at 10 vaccination centres across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The lanes will operate from 9am to 4pm, with workers needing to show proof of employment.

The move comes after an outbreak at Arcare Maidstone, now genomically linked to a South Australian hotel quarantine leak, highlighted gaps in private aged care vaccinations among workers and residents.

A COVID-positive 99-year-old resident received just one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, while only one of two other infected workers has had their first jab.

Just 57 per cent of Victorian private aged care residents and 64 per cent nationwide are fully vaccinated, and 21 facilities across the country are yet to have their first doses.

In February, the federal government pledged vulnerable groups including those in aged care would get their first jab over the initial six weeks of the rollout.

WA confirms fresh hotel quarantine breach.

West Australian authorities are investigating another COVID-19 hotel quarantine breach after a traveller at Perth's Pan Pacific was infected by a neighbouring guest.

WA Health on Tuesday said genome testing had confirmed two men in adjoining rooms at the end of a corridor had the same strain of the virus.


Twelve guests staying on the same floor as the latest hotel-acquired cases have left quarantine after returning negative day 13 tests.

It's not yet known how the virus was spread between the two rooms.

WA Health said it had been advised by the Pan Pacific that all its rooms were negative pressure, a mitigating factor in preventing airborne transmission.

Western Sydney Netball captain calls out "vile" messages after game loss.

On Monday night, the Western Sydney Giants lost against the unbeaten West Coast Fever by a single goal during a Super Netball clash in WA, with captain Jo Harten subjected to "vile" commentary online.

The 32-year-old England international star played a key role in the final states of the match. 

The commenter told Harten to "rot in hell" among a spray of insults, to which the netball star replied, "Love me or hate me, I compete hard for 60 mins, but no one deserves this."

Her opponents were also quick to condemn the insults. 

Giants Netball General Manager Tim Underwood says, "Behaviour like this is completely unacceptable and our athletes deserve better.


"Jo is an experienced player who will no doubt move on quickly like the champion she is, but she's done the right thing by calling this incident out.

"Not every athlete has the tools to deal with such vitriol and abuse like this can do serious damage to the mental wellbeing of athletes.

"No matter what you think of the athlete or the result, behaviour like this has no place in our game or in sport more broadly."

Eleven arrested after Sydney man abducted.

A Sydney man is recovering in hospital after he was allegedly violently abducted in a home invasion, then held hostage for six hours in a warehouse during a police siege.

The "exceptionally dangerous" ordeal began in the early hours of Tuesday, when a group of men, one armed with a gun, allegedly burst into a home at Bringelly in Sydney's south-west.

The men assaulted the 61-year-old occupant before forcing another man, 37, into a car outside.


Emergency services were called about 3am, with police establishing a crime scene and paramedics treating the older man for minor injuries.

Detectives and police negotiators were then sent to an industrial warehouse at Marigold Street, Revesby where the abducted man was being held.

After negotiations, the 37-year-old was eventually released into policy custody and taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his head and face.

The alleged offenders then set the warehouse ablaze. The eleven men allegedly behind the kidnapping have been arrested. Police believe the incident is related to organised bikie crime.

Mice poison could impact entire food chain.

The NSW government's chosen poison is supposed to "napalm" the mice plaguing the state, but there are fears it could also wipe-out vulnerable native animals and contaminate the food chain.  

Under increasing pressure to help end a mice plague that has tormented regional communities for eight months, the government announced it has secured 5000 litres of the super deadly rodent poison bromadiolone.

Currently banned for agricultural use in Australia, the state has offered to provide it for free if the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority approves it for use.

When announcing the measure, part of a $50 million government package to deal with the outbreak, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the poison would be "the equivalent of napalming mice" across the affected regions.


But communities say they're concerned it will kill much more than that, including Murray Cod - a protected species  - who's diet is predominantly mice.

Wild birds - like eagles, kites and owls - snakes, and goannas are also at great risk.

Pope expands rules on sexual abuse.

Pope Francis has issued the most sweeping revision to Catholic Church law in four decades, toughening regulations for clerics who abuse minors and vulnerable adults, commit fraud or ordain women.

The revision, which has been in the works since 2009, involves all of section six of the Church's Code of Canon Law, a seven-book code of about 1750 articles.

It is the most extensive revision since the current code was approved by Pope John Paul in 1983.

The Pope reminded bishops that they were responsible for following the letter of the law and that one aim of the revisions was to "reduce the number of cases in which the imposition of a penalty was left to the discretion of authorities".

Around the world.

- A man in eastern China has contracted what might be the world's first human case of the H10N3 strain of bird flu.

- Australia's Ash Barty has overcome a hip injury to sail through the first-round of the French Open, defying tough opponent Bernarda Pera in three sets.

- With AAP

Feature image: Di Maggio/Getty/ Paul Kane/Getty/Vatican Pool Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty.