The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday July 23.

Victorians are not isolating when they should be. 

Australia has had its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases with 502 people diagnosed with the disease on Wednesday, as Victoria's count continues to rise dramatically.

Victoria accounted for 484 of the new cases reported on Wednesday, as authorities plead with people to heed warnings to stay at home if they have any flu-like symptoms and while waiting for test results.

The previous highest number of new infections in a day was 469, reported on March 28.

Unlike then, nearly all of Wednesday's new infections were contracted locally.

"We reported only two cases on June 9, less than six weeks ago, and this shows how quickly outbreaks can occur and spread," Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told reporters in Canberra.

"If you have symptoms, you must stay at home. You must not go to work. You must not go to school, you must not go shopping.

"Clearly the figures released today are very significant and they provide a stark reminder that we must all be playing our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19."

After a month with no coronavirus deaths to mid-June, Australia has suffered 25 fatalities in the past four weeks as the toll rose to 128 on Wednesday.

And the country is quickly heading back toward the peak of 4935 active cases reached on April 4, after dropping below 400 last month.


Almost 90 per cent of the 3810 people to contract the disease in Victoria in the past two weeks did not self-isolate in the period between feeling sick and getting tested, Premier Daniel Andrews said at Wednesday's press conference.

More than half didn't isolate while waiting for their results.

"They have gone out shopping. They have gone to work. They have been at the height of their infectivity, and they have just continued on as usual," Andrews said.


He said the data, which was collected by the public health team from infected Victorians between July 7 and July 21, showed many of those who tested positive were in insecure work and did not have any leave entitlements.

He urged them to apply for a $1500 hardship payment.

"Let's not judge them. Let's try and work out what is driving it."

Andrews warned the current six-week lockdown due to end next month would be extended if the infection rate did not fall.

"You must go and get tested when you feel sick. That is the only thing that you can and must do," he said in Melbourne.

Face masks will be mandatory in greater Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to the city's north from Thursday.

Fears NSW 'four weeks behind Melbourne'.

An aged care facility in Sydney's inner west has been closed to visitors after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.

NSW Health began testing all staff and residents at Ashfield Baptist Homes on Wednesday and the aged care facility is expected to remain closed until July 31 pending test results.

The staff member dined at Thai Rock at Wetherill Park on July 12.


The restaurant has been associated with an outbreak of 37 confirmed cases in NSW.

"The risk to other staff and residents is considered to be very low as the staff member wore masks, gloves and gowns when working with residents and did not work while symptomatic," a NSW Health spokeswoman said in a statement on Wednesday.

An Ashfield Baptist Homes spokeswoman confirmed the staff member worked three shifts after visiting the restaurant and that families are able to arrange access to their loved ones "on a case by case compassionate basis". 


There are fears NSW's growing number of community transmission cases and clusters could indicate a trend similar to Victoria's a number of weeks ago.

Physician and former Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Stephen Parnis told A Current Affair he was concerned "that NSW could be where Melbourne was four, five, six weeks ago".

"There’s no room for complacency, and even the other states that have had wonderful records in recent weeks, it wouldn’t take much for those things to change," Dr Parnis said.

"This isn’t about panic, it’s about being ready, it’s about doing the drills that we’ve learnt, all of us, over the last few months."

The state recorded 16 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday including one in hotel quarantine, three linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, and 11 associated with the Thai Rock restaurant.

The total number of cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster has now reached 53.

Further north in Port Stephens, near Newcastle, the Goodstart Early Learning childcare centre at Anna Bay is closed today after a three-year-old tested positive to COVID-19.

Tomaree Public School and Tomaree High School, at nearby Salamander Bay, are also shut for deep cleaning after two students tested positive.

These cases are linked to a man in his 60s who visited the Salamander Bay shopping centre on July 15.


New lockdown will wipe $3.3b from economy.

The Morrison government will reveal the size of its budget deficit as it continues to spend tens of billions on coronavirus economy supports.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will lay out the current state of affairs in an economic and fiscal update on Thursday, giving budget estimates and key forecasts for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.

A full set of economic and fiscal data for the four-year forward estimates won't be revealed until the budget on October 6.

The update is expected to show Victoria's six-week renewed lockdown to contain the second wave of coronavirus infections will slice $3.3 billion off the national economy.

The government has spent or planned $164 billion of supports, notably the $86 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy and $17 billion JobSeeker supplement.

At the same time, revenues have plummeted.

Economists are predicting Mr Frydenberg will detail a deficit for 2020/21 of between $230 billion and $240 billion.

Donald Trump's change in tone.


President Donald Trump, in a shift in rhetoric, has encouraged Americans to wear a mask if they cannot maintain social distance from people around them in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In his first briefing in months focused on the pandemic, Trump told reporters at the White House that the virus would probably get worse before it gets better, in one of his first recent acknowledgements of how bad the problem has become.

Trump, who has been accused of downplaying the virus in its early stages and has been focused on reopening the economy in recent months despite an increase in cases, wore a mask for the first time in public during a recent visit to a military hospital, but has otherwise avoided putting one on in front of the press.


Mask-wearing has become a partisan issue, with some Trump supporters saying being required to wear one infringes on their liberties.

As coronavirus cases skyrocket across the country, including in politically important states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona, the president is shifting his tone to get the number of cases under control as he fights for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden, who leads in opinion polls ahead of the November 3 election.

Trump said he was getting used to masks and would wear one himself in groups or when on an elevator.

"I will use it, gladly," he said. "Anything that potentially can help... is a good thing."

Trump again argued the virus would disappear at some point but most of his comments were largely a sober recognition of how bad the problem has become.

"We're ... asking Americans to use masks, socially distance and employ vigorous hygiene - wash your hands every chance you get while sheltering high-risk populations. We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings. Be safe, and be smart," he said.

Adam Goodes on AFL's "toxic" culture.

AFL legend Adam Goodes has shared how the AFL's "toxic" environment contributed to his retirement in 2015.

Image: Getty.  


"Me choosing to walk away was me making a choice for my own mental health," Goodes said in an interview with BBC's HARDtalk.

"And I needed to get away from this toxic environment which, up until that point in time, had been a safe place for me to just be an incredible player that I wanted to be and to learn to be the leader that I was.

"But here I had the choice to submit myself to this toxic environment or get away from it and really reassess my priorities."


The former Sydney Swans player was booed relentlessly in the final years of his career, after he called out a fan who racially abused him during a match against Collingwood in 2013.

Since retiring Goodes has continued to fight for racial equality. As the Black Lives Matter movement continues worldwide, Goodes said people globally were becoming more "woke to racism, especially casual racism" but he said he was relieved to no longer be publicly targeted at work.

Goodes said Australia's leadership was not as receptive to listening to the voices of Indigenous Australians as it should be.

"I don’t know if they’re listening or not. There’s other issues going on in our country that they think need more attention.

"You have to remember, we’re 2.8 per cent of the population here in Australia, so not much time and effort is put into working with us as Indigenous people. And when I say working ‘with’ us, that’s listening to us, taking our advice and creating good governance and policy behind it," he said.

"For me, I will work with government, I will help them achieve their KPIs when it comes to Indigenous outcomes but I don’t have time to wait for them and Indigenous people don’t have time to wait for the government to get this right."

Kim Kardashian urges compassion for husband Kanye West.


Kim Kardashian has asked for compassion and empathy for her rapper husband Kanye West's mental health struggles, after a series of public remarks on subjects ranging from politics to his marriage.

Kardashian's statement on her Instagram stories was her first public comment on weeks of interviews, public appearances and Twitter comments by West that have raised concern about the Grammy-winning singer's mental health.

"As many of you know, Kanye has bi-polar disorder," she wrote on Wednesday, calling him a "brilliant but complicated person".


Kardashian did not mention West's stated plan to run for the White House in the November 2020 election.

West held a rally in South Carolina at the weekend under his self-styled Birthday Party banner but has not outlined any coherent political policies.

On Wednesday night AEST, West posted then swiftly deleted a tweet saying he was trying to divorce Kardashian.

Kardashian said she and her family were trying to get help for West, and spoke about the stigma and misunderstandings around mental health.

"I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this," she added.

Around the world.

- Global COVID-19 cases have passed 15 million on Wednesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which relies on official government data. Known coronavirus deaths have reached 619,000. 

- Prince Philip has made a rare public appearance, handing over his ceremonial military role as colonel-in-chief of the rifles regiment, which he has held for nearly 70 years, to his daughter-in-law Camilla. The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh has attended few engagements since announcing his retirement from most public duties in May 2017.

-With AAP.

Feature image: ABC/Getty.