The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday July 16.

Five health care workers at The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne test positive for COVID-19.

Five staff from a Victorian children's hospital, which treats some of Australia's most vulnerable children, have tested positive for coronavirus and seven others are self-isolating.

Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital on Wednesday confirmed five workers from the health centre have separately tested positive, but the centre rejects the cases are part of an outbreak.

A spokesman from the RCH said the workers are not connected with any work team and ensured the other seven staff self-isolating are doing so for individual circumstances.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald reported at least two doctors were infected.

She also said there are no COVID-19 patients at the hospital.

A shop within the hospital was forced to close last Friday after a back of house worker at the premises tested positive, but the hospital is treating this as separate as it is run by a private contractor.

It comes as Victorians are encouraged to wear face masks.

Another life was lost in the state on Wednesday, while 238 new cases were recorded, making it the 10th day in a row the state has recorded a triple-digit increase.

Professor Sutton said the task of reducing community transmission won't be easy, noting that making masks mandatory was an option.


Last Friday, health authorities in Victoria encouraged people in locked-down metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire to wear face masks when social distancing wasn't possible.

Since then, mandatory use of face masks was imposed on health workers at aged care facilities and home care providers across Victoria's locked-down areas.

Victoria Police on Wednesday recommended its officers wear masks within their stations, including where no contact with the public occurs.

Victorians will also be expected to wear masks in the state's courts, where disposable masks will be available at entrances before security checks.


Man charged with murder of Melbourne woman.

A man will face court charged with murder, after police discovered the body of a woman during a welfare check at the north Melbourne home.

The 45-year-old was charged on Wednesday evening and will face Melbourne's Magistrate's Court today, accused of killing Elaine Pandilovski.

.  Elaine Pandilovski. Image: Facebook.

Police discovered her body at about 9.30pm on Tuesday.

Pandilovski's aunty, Mary Yoannidis, remembered her niece as "beautiful" in a social media tribute.


"My beautiful niece, words can't explain how we are feeling now. Your life was taken from us and we couldn't help. I love you always, life will never be the same, our hearts will never be the same," Ms Yoannidis said.

Pandilovski was an education support staffer at Plenty Parklands Primary School.

"Our school community is coming to terms with this sad news," principal Claire McInerney said in a statement, saying counselling would be made available for students and staff. 

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of such a positive, supportive and professional member of our community.

"We extend our deepest sympathy to Elaine's family and friends at this difficult time."

Multi-billion dollar training scheme announced to help job seekers.

Nearly 350,000 young Australians who face entering the workforce in a recession will be able to learn new skills for free, or nearly free, if states sign up to a new billion-dollar training deal.

The federal government is unveiling a new skills package on Thursday for school leavers and people looking for work to take up courses in areas like health care, transport, manufacturing and retail.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is backing the plan with $500 million in commonwealth money, to be matched by the states, and has branded it JobTrainer.

"COVID-19 is unprecedented but I want Australians to be ready for the sorts of jobs that will come as we build back and recover," he said.


"The jobs and skills we'll need as we come out of the crisis are not likely to be the same as those that were lost."

It's expected the money will make a range of short courses delivered via TAFEs and private providers free for students.

Other courses that lead to qualifications including Certificate III and IV and diplomas - more likely to be taken up by school leavers - would be subsidised.

While no deal has been done with the states yet, it's understood most were supportive when the idea was discussed at the National Cabinet meeting last Friday.

The prime minister said in May he wants this new deal to link funding to teaching the skills businesses actually need, simplifying the system, better coordinating subsidies and increased transparency.

NSW pub virus cluster 'patient zero' found.

Image: Getty.


NSW has been warned to "fully expect" COVID-19 clusters to pop up because of the "stealthy" nature of the virus as the number of cases linked to a southwest Sydney pub continues to grow.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant on Wednesday said there were 34 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, with at least 20 of them patrons.

Two of the 34 cases to date are "tertiary" cases, or contacts of contacts.

The state reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, with only three of them unconnected to the hotel.

Dr Chant said this highlights how rapidly coronavirus can spread, describing it as a "stealthy" virus.

NSW Health also confirmed the "patient zero" of the outbreak was a Melbourne freight company employee who attended the Crossroads Hotel on July 3 for a work party. Six of his colleagues have since caught COVID-19.

The man entered NSW on June 30, before its border with Victoria closed.

NSW Health named venues where confirmed COVID-19 cases spent time including the YMCA at Revesby, Wests Leagues Club at Leumeah, Macarthur Tavern in Campbelltown, Casula Kmart, Milky Lane restaurant in Parramatta, The Bavarian Macarthur and Woolworths in Bowral.


Amber Heard warned about bringing dogs to Australia, court told.

Actor Amber Heard was "repeatedly" told it would be illegal for her to take her two dogs with her to Australia, a former Johnny Depp employee has claimed in a London court.

Kevin Murphy, who worked for the Pirates of the Caribbean star for almost eight years, alleged that Depp's then partner "demanded" he make a false statement about the animals being "smuggled" into the country.

He also claimed Heard, 34, asked him to contact her former assistant, Kate James, and ask her to "lie under oath" to an Australian court.

In October 2015, Heard faced criminal proceedings in Australia for taking the couple's two Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally.

She and Depp, 57, recorded a now infamous video in 2016 apologising for doing so.

In a written witness statement submitted as part of Depp's libel case against News Group Newspapers (NGN), Murphy said: "Ms Heard was aware that [bringing her dogs to Australia] was illegal, because I had informed her repeatedly by email, telephone and in person."

In his written statement, Murphy also said that shortly after this, Heard "demanded verbally that I myself make a false witness statement regarding the dogs' illegal entrance into Australia". 

"I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with doing so, to which Ms Heard responded with words to the effect of: 'Well I want your help on this ... I wouldn't want you to have a problem with your job'.


"Ms Heard's threatening language made me feel anxious and uneasy."

Murphy said he had instructed Heard she could not take the dogs to Australia because the relevant paperwork and permits were not complete and the required 10-day quarantine arrangements had not been put in place.

In a second witness statement, Murphy said he was "shocked" to learn that Heard had taken the dogs to Australia, "despite our discussions and my warnings of severe legal ramifications".

Around the world.

- The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp decline in the number of children around the world being vaccinated against other illnesses such as diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, the UN said.

- Prosecutors said Ghislaine Maxwell, who faces federal charges in Manhattan for allegedly enabling Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking of minor girls, is married but she won't identify her spouse. She has been denied bail.

- US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said a White House attempt to discredit him over conflicting advice early in the pandemic was "bizarre" and "doesn't do anything but reflect poorly on them". He said his advice and analysis provided has shifted over time, but insists it has always been based on the latest science.

-With AAP.

Feature image: Getty.