The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday June 22.

Victoria back in lockdown with six virus hotspots.

Health authorities are confident the outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria will be brought under control quickly, but it's shown that Australians cannot take it easy.

Victoria confirmed another 19 cases on Sunday, taking the number of new cases in the state over the past week to 160, and prompting a state of emergency extension of four weeks until July 19.

Cafes, restaurants and pubs were set to expand their number of patrons from 20 to 50 on Monday, but that is now on hold. Gyms, cinemas, indoor sports centres and concert venues will be allowed to reopen but with a 20-person limit.


Victoria's case numbers are the highest they have been in more than two months.

The only other cases reported on Sunday were five in NSW and one in Western Australia.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee says outbreaks have been identified in the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.

"The AHPPC strongly discourages travel to and from those areas until control of community transmission has been confirmed," the committee said in a statement on Sunday.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the panel had "every confidence" the outbreak would be brought under control.

"This is a good example of how things are going to work into the future," Dr Coatsworth said.

"(It is ) an important example because it will show how a state can get on top of outbreaks of this nature in Victoria and then move forward."

Most of the new cases in Victoria came from large family gatherings.

UK stabbings being treated as a terror attack.

A stabbing rampage in the southern English town of Reading, that killed three people and wounded others, was an act of terrorism, police say.

Detectives say a man ran into a park in Reading, about 65km west of London, and attacked people with a knife before he was detained by unarmed officers.


Police said an unnamed 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.

A Western security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the arrested man was a Libyan called Khairi Saadallah.

The victims have not yet been formally identified, but a school in a nearby town said its teacher James Furlong was killed.

police tents and equipment at the scene of a fatal stabbing incident that is being treated as terrorism in Forbury Gardens park in Reading. Image: AFP/Getty.

The security source said Saadallah had come across the radar of Britain's security agency MI5 last year over intelligence he had aspirations to travel for extremist purposes, although his plans came to nothing.


He never met the criteria for a full investigation, the source said.

Ski season opens in NSW and VIC.

The ski season will officially kick off in NSW and Victoria after weeks of delay due to the coronavirus.

But it will not be quite business as usual when the mountains open up from Monday, with social distancing rules in place and lift passes needing to be pre-purchased at some spots.

Thredbo in NSW, and Mount Buller in Victoria, will start operating ski lifts from Monday, while Perisher and Victoria's Mount Hotham and Falls Creek will start turning lifts on from Wednesday.


Ski resorts will operate at a reduced capacity and group ski and snowboarding lessons are not permitted, while all accommodation and facilities at the ski fields will have screening and safeguards in place.

The late start to the ski season comes just days before school holidays in Victoria, and a few weeks ahead of NSW school holidays, in what will hopefully give the areas a much-needed tourism boost.


According to, Perisher and Thredbo will see only a small smattering of snow over the coming days, while Falls Creek, Mount Hotham and Mount Buller can expect a bit more powder than their NSW counterparts, but it is not expected to linger long.

Assange "very unwell" in UK prison.

Julian Assange's fiancée has raised concerns about the Wikileaks founder's health and pleaded for the Australian government to help return him to his family.

Stella Moris and Assange, who is being held in the UK's Belmarsh prison, have two young children together.

The 48-year-old Australian is fighting extradition to the US to face 17 charges of violating the US Espionage Act and one of conspiring to commit computer intrusion.


"He's very unwell and I'm very concerned about his ability to survive this," Ms Moris told 60 Minutes, which aired on Sunday night.

"He's not a criminal. He's not a dangerous person. He's a gentle intellectual, a thinker."

Assange didn't appear via video link for his most recent court matter in London's Westminster Magistrates' Court in early June.

His defence team had emailed court that their client had "had respiratory problems for some time", the court heard.

WikiLeaks confirmed Assange had been advised against going to the video conferencing room in Belmarsh prison by his doctors and was at high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to an underlying lung condition.

Ms Moris, 37, said Assange was being kept alone in a tiny room and was "very depressed".

"I want people to understand we're being punished as a family," she said.

"I'd like to ask Scott Morrison to do everything he can to get Julian back to his family."

Trump tells US authorities to slow virus testing rates, because they were returning too many positives.

President Donald Trump says he's asked his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because robust testing turns up too many cases of COVID-19.


Trump told supporters at his smaller than anticipated campaign rally on Saturday night that the US had tested 25 million people, far more than any other country.

The "bad part," Trump said, was that widespread testing led to logging more cases of the virus.

"When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases," Trump said.

"So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please.' They test and they test."


The campaign of likely Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, said Trump was putting politics ahead of the safety and health of Americans.

Trump opted to hold his first rally in 110 days, despite concerns from local health officials that it could lead to further spread of the virus in Tulsa. Most of those in attendance declined to wear a mask.

The outbreak has killed about 120,000 people in the US, and the number of newly confirmed cases per day has risen from about 21,400 two weeks ago, to 23,200, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The president, who revels in large crowds and had predicted his first rally in months would be epic, complained that the media had discouraged attendees from coming and cited bad behaviour from protesters outside, but did not specifically acknowledge the fact that many seats in the 19,000-seat arena were empty.

Around the world.

- Nine people, including a 17-year-old boy, have been shot at a party in New York, and another shooting in Minneapolis has left one man dead and 11 wounded.

- After 14 weeks, Spain is lifting its lockdown and allowing residents to travel outside the province where they live.

- Worldwide coronavirus infections surpass 8.72 million, with 460,299 people killed by the virus.

- With AAP

Feature image: Darrian Traynor, AFP/ Go Nakamura/Bloomberg/Getty.