The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday July 20.

JobKeeper to be extended until Christmas.

The JobKeeper wage subsidy will be extended until Christmas, at a lower rate and with tighter restrictions, reported.

The publication confirmed the subsidy will be lowered to about $1000 a fortnight, with casuals and part-time workers securing a part-time rate to end the 'overpaying' of casuals with a flat-rate.

The payment is expected to focus on industries such as tourism and hospitality that were forced to shut down. Companies will again need to prove they are being hit by COVID-19 restrictions, and may need to submit monthly turnover updates to the ATO.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down an economic and fiscal update on Thursday, which will include Treasury's review of the JobKeeper wage subsidy, as well as the enhanced JobSeeker payment, both of which are legislated to end in September.

The payments have helped to prop up the economy, with fears of 'falling off a cliff' if they disappear when originally planned on September 27.

New economic modelling suggests over half a million Australians would be thrown into poverty if the JobSeeker payment returns to its pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of $40 a day.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, and in the face of an anticipated sharp jump in unemployment, the federal government introduced the coronavirus supplement, which doubled the JobSeeker payment - formerly known as Newstart - to around $1100 a fortnight.


The Australian Institute think tank said its modelling shows the supplement instantly lifted 425,000 people out of poverty.

If the JobSeeker payment returns to its previous level, those people will be returned to poverty and the impact will be magnified given the unemployment rate has jumped to a 22-year high of 7.4 per cent and is set to go even higher.

The institute estimates it would push more than 650,000 Australians into recession, including 120,000 children aged under 14.


Masks made mandatory in Melbourne.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wears a face mask as he walks in to the daily briefing on July 19, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Getty. 

Efforts to control Victoria's alarming COVID cases have ramped up with Melburnians told to wear a mask whenever they leave the house.


Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday announced the new measure, which will come into effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday for residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

The two areas remain in lockdown, with people only allowed to leave their homes to exercise, buy groceries, care or care-giving, and to go to work or school if they cannot do so from home.

"If you are out of your home for one of the four reasons, then you need to be wearing a mask and I stress - or a face covering - it need not be a hospital grade mask, it need not be one of the handmade masks," Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

"Any face covering is better than no face-covering."

The premier also announced an inspection blitz of at-risk workplaces after it was revealed about 80 per cent of new cases since mid-May are linked to workplaces.

The crackdown will include distribution centres, call centres and meat processing centres and will be conducted by police and WorkSafe.

Victoria on Sunday recorded 363 new cases of the virus and two more deaths, taking the state's toll to 38, with more infections cropping up in nursing homes.

The inquiry into Victoria's now infamous hotel quarantine program starts on Monday.

NSW COVID-19 clusters grow.

NSW recorded 18 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as community transmission related to its clusters continues.

Thirteen of the new cases were locally acquired, authorities said on Sunday.


A number of Sydney businesses have closed for cleaning after infected patients visited.

Holy Duck! restaurant in the inner Sydney suburb of Chippendale has closed for cleaning after one of the locally acquired cases dined there between 7.15pm and 9.30pm on July 10.

Another case visited Anytime Fitness in Merrylands between 9pm and 10.30pm on July 14.

Sunday's cases also included four people who visited the Thai Rock restaurant at the Stockland Mall in Wetherill Park and a close contact of one of the cases, bringing the total linked to Thai Rock to eight.

Another case was linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster.

The Crossroads Hotel in Casula, Sydney, has been identified as source of COVID-19 super spreader event. Image: Getty.


The virus has also made its way down NSW's south coast to Batemans Bay. Eight cases have been linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club.

All staff and patrons who attended the club on Monday July 13, Thursday July 16, and Friday July 17, are advised to self isolate for 14 days after they were last at the club and seek COVID-19 testing.

"Everyone must stay in isolation for a full 14 days even if their test is negative," a NSW Health spokeswoman said.

"Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms should also be retested, even if they have had a negative result previously."

NSW Health deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty warned everyone had a role to play in slowing the spread.

"It wouldn't take much for us to be in Melbourne's situation and we need everyone's assistance," he said.

"Don't be complacent."


From midnight on Tuesday, NSW will tighten restrictions for entry from Victoria.

Former Ferrari boss gives an update on Michael Schumacher's condition.

Image: Getty.

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt visited Formula One champion and his 'second son' Michael Schumacher recently at his Swiss home.

"I saw Michael last week," he told the Mail on Sunday.

"He is fighting. I hope the world will be able to see him again. That is what he and his family are working towards."


Six years after Schumacher sustained a brain injury from a skiing accident in the French Alps, the Formula 1 World Champion’s health condition remains cloaked in secrecy.

The 51-year-old has not been seen publicly since the accident in late December 2013.

Around the world.

- COVID-19 cases around the world are continuing to surge. The World Health Organization said that 259,848 new infections were reported on Saturday, its highest one-day tally yet.

- Hong Kong has made the wearing of masks mandatory in all public places and told non-essential civil servants to work from home. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the situation in the financial hub is "really critical" and that she sees "no sign" that it's under control.

- South Africa is now the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic with more than 350,000 cases, while India has reached more than one million infections.

- Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 15 per cent among United States' registered voters and holds a 20-point lead when it comes to who Americans trust to handle the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday. "I'm not losing, because those are fake polls," Trump responded in an interview with Fox News.

-With AAP.

Feature image: Nine/Getty.