The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday August 10.

Moderna joins vaccine arsenal in Australia.

Australia's effort against COVID-19 is set to be boosted with a new vaccine, half a dozen treatments and simple tests for workplaces.

Moderna has been given Therapeutic Goods Administration provisional approval, joining Pfizer and AstraZeneca in Australia's vaccine armoury.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved in June, but is not included in Australia's program.

The government has secured 25 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, including the supply of 10 million doses in 2021 and 15 million doses of its updated variant booster vaccine in 2022.

TGA boss John Skerritt said the vaccine was 93 per cent effective against COVID-19 infection, 98 per cent against severe disease and 100 per cent against death.

The first one million doses are due to arrive next month and will be allocated to pharmacies.

Three million doses are expected to arrive in each of the final three months of the year.

Most of NSW population now locked down.

More than 80 per cent of the NSW population is now in lockdown as the state struggles to stop the spread of the Delta COVID-19 strain beyond Greater Sydney and into the regions. 

About 6,571,800 residents have now been placed into lockdown.

Byron Bay and surrounding local government areas in northern NSW entered a seven-day lockdown from 6pm on Monday. 

That came as the New England regional city of Tamworth joined the Hunter region and Armidale for its own seven-day lockdown after an infected young woman visited the area from Newcastle.


The woman left Newcastle before it was included in the Hunter region lockdown from Thursday evening.

In the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday NSW recorded 283 local COVID-19 cases, 106 of which were in the community while infectious.

An unvaccinated northern Sydney woman in her 90s has also died, taking the death toll from the current outbreak to at least 29.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a goal of six million COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of August in order to consider easing lockdown settings. About 4.5 million jabs have been administered so far.


Despite saying last week that "COVID zero" remains the goal in NSW, the premier on Monday admitted lockdown restrictions could ease from August 29 depending on infections in the community and hitting the six million jab target.

However, pre-pandemic freedoms could not be countenanced until vaccination rates of 70 and 80 per cent are reached.

Ms Berejiklian acknowledged this meant residents of Sydney and surrounds could be banned from interstate travel for the long term, given the tendency of other states to close borders.

Regional Vic awakes to fewer restrictions.

Regional Victoria's lockdown is over but people in Melbourne are still days from finding out when theirs will end.

The state's regional areas came out of lockdown at 11:59pm on Monday after no new COVID-19 cases were detected outside Melbourne, but some rules remain including a ban on home visits and compulsory mask-wearing.

"There is a degree of localisation, if you like, to these cases," Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.

"Pleasingly we haven't seen cases in regional Victoria over these last four or five days."

More than five million Melburnians are under strict stay-at-home rules until at least 8pm on Thursday, with no word yet on whether the lockdown will ease on time.

City dwellers trying to flee Melbourne and drive to regional areas will face fines upwards of $5000 as about 200 police are deployed to main and back roads across the state.


Locked-down Cairns waits on COVID-19 tests.

Cairns residents are sweating on tests that will reveal if COVID-19 is spreading in the tourist city.

Authorities are hoping for a dramatic lift in testing numbers after a Cairns taxi driver was linked to an earlier Delta variant case involving a local marine pilot.

The taxi driver wasn't identified as a close contact until well after he drove the marine pilot to the Cairns airport.

The unvaccinated cabbie was infectious in the community for a total of 10 days, seven of them spent driving passengers around Cairns.

Since the driver tested positive on the weekend, contact tracers have been working overtime to ensure all his contacts is isolating.

Cairns and Yarrabah residents are currently subject to a three-day lockdown, which is due to end at 4pm on Wednesday if there's no sign of further infections.

At the opposite end of the state, a cluster centred on Brisbane schools appears to be under control. All of the four new locally acquired cases reported on Monday were linked to the so-called Indooroopilly cluster.

Further south, Gold Coast authorities are on alert for any cases beyond the one that is known to authorities.

Australia urged to up its climate action.

Australia is facing intensified pressure to drastically boost its climate commitments as the world hurtles towards 1.5C of warming by early next decade.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has delivered a reality check about what society is doing to itself.


The most comprehensive climate report card to date puts global warming on track to hit 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the early 2030s.

Rapid, deep and sustained greenhouse gas emission cuts are needed now if warming is to be limited to 1.5C or even 2C.

Under the worst-case scenario modelled, global warming would reach 1.6C by 2040 and likely 4.4C by the end of the century.

The UN's Environment Programme executive director Inger Andersen says the world has failed to heed decades of warnings.

Monash University planetary health expert Tony Capon wanted climate change treated as urgently as the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Climate change is a health issue too and the devastating Black Summer bushfires made that clear, similarly the bushfires in California and Greece," he said. 

Everything done to avert fresh Census fail tonight.

Australia's bean counters and cyber detectives hope to avoid the embarrassment of another bungled census.

The national survey will give 10 million households and 25 million people a chance to shape their future.

After trusting tech giant IBM with crucial infrastructure last time, which spectacularly crashed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has rebuilt the census system with consultancy firm PwC Australia and Amazon Web Services.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the census is vital for government decisions.


"I am encouraging all Australians to take the time to complete your census tonight and help ensure that this important statistical exercise is a success." Mr Sukkar said.

The census gives policymakers a clearer idea of future needs for transport, health, education and other services.

Failure to fill out the compulsory form will attract a polite reminder and then a fine.

Attention turns to Paralympics, in an even more dangerous Tokyo. 

Australia will be sending 174 athletes to the Paralympics along with 168 officials with the Games to kick off on August 24.

The intense heat and humidity in Tokyo has proved difficult for able-bodied athletes to contend with, and the Paralympians are arriving later this month, when conditions will be even more oppressive.

Members of the Australian Paralympic swim team Ellie Cole, Brenden Hall, Tiffany Thomas Kane, Keira Stephens and Col Pearse pose during the Australian 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Swimming Uniform Launch at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on May 13, 2021. Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty.

Chief medical officer of the Paralympic team, Pip Inge has told The Australian, heat management is difficult for those with spinal injuries in particular, and given they're only allowed to arrive five days before their event, they won't have much time to acclimatise coming from Australia's winter.


The second concern is obviously COVID-19, with cases in Tokyo higher than ever after the Olympics. New daily cases topped 4000 for a fifth day on the final day of the Games over the weekend.

Many of the athletes competing in the Paralympics are at a higher risk should they contract the disease, with Paralympics Australia enforcing vaccination for all athletes who want to go to Tokyo.

Around the world.

- Fires have destroyed vast tracts of forest in Greece, burnt down homes and made thousands flee to safety as they burn for a seventh straight day. 

- France took a big step Monday into a post-pandemic future, requiring people to show a COVID 'health pass' before they can enjoy restaurants and cafes or travel across the country. Right now more than 54 per cent of the country is fully vaccinated against the virus. 

- Popular American TV and radio host Dick Farrel, who called COVID a 'scam-demic' has died from the virus, urging friends on his deathbed to get the vaccine.

- With AAP

Feature image: Rahman Alvi/Eyepix /Barcroft Media/Mick Tsikas-Pool/Getty/Cameron Spencer.

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