The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday July 5.

Two more virus cases in NSW aged care.

Two further residents of a Sydney nursing home have caught the coronavirus as families fume at the low level of vaccination among staff.

There is concern for residents of the SummitCare home at Baulkham Hills, even though 96 per cent of its highly vulnerable residents are fully vaccinated.

On Sunday evening, the operator send a letter to residents saying the infected people are "resting comfortably and not displaying any symptoms". The residents will be transferred to Westmead Hospital as a precaution. 

Three had already been infected after COVID-19 was brought into the home by staff: a man in his 90s, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 80s. 

All have had two doses of the vaccine and are said to be in good spirits, with no symptoms.

SummitCare's chief operating officer Michelle Sloane admitted only a third of the facility's workforce have had a shot.

The daughter of one infected resident is furious about how few staff have been vaccinated.

"We assumed they were. I think it's a disgrace," Kathie Melocco told the ABC.

"If I had known, that would've meant I would've made other decisions around my parents. I'm just so angry."

Two of the nursing home's workers tested positive for COVID-19 during the week. One of them was not vaccinated and SummitCare was unclear about the vaccination status of the other.

At least 140 of the home's 200 staff members are now in 14 days of self-isolation as NSW starts to see an overall downward trend in new cases.


Meanwhile, NSW Health has issued another ten COVID alerts for venues across Sydney including a Coles in Maroubra and a Woolworths in Hillsdale, both in Sydney's east.

Alerts have also been issued for numerous bus routes around Strathfield in Sydney's west and train routes from Penrith, the north shore line, the Bankstown line and the inner west line.

There were 16 local COVID-19 cases recorded in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.

Three of those cases were out in the community during some or all of their infectious period. There have now been 277 local COVID-19 cases reported since June 16.

NRL warns players who breached COVID rules of future pain.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has warned players are risking not only this year's competition but the earnings of future stars as the NRL investigates 12 St George Illawarra players for a potential breach of biosecurity protocols.

The NRL and NSW Police spent Sunday investigating Dragons players who broke stay-at-home orders to attend a party at forward Paul Vaughan's house on Saturday night.

Thirteen people were issued with $1000 fines from the police for breaching the public health order, after they were called to Vaughan's Shellharbour house.


"Four men – aged 21, 30, and two aged 24 – were also spoken to and it was determined they were not residents," a NSW Police statement said.

"They were all given directions to leave and return to their homes.

"Following inquiries, police have since spoken to a further seven men – aged 26, 28, two aged 30 and three aged 25 – who had also attended the home.

"The 11 visitors were unable to provide a valid reason for being away from home and they along with the two home-owners will be receiving $1000 PINS."

The situation could have dire implications for the Dragons' season, given if any person from outside the NRL bubble was present each player would need to be placed in two weeks' of isolation.

Even if there wasn't a biosecurity need to sit players out, there is every chance the NRL could still come down with bans to go with big fines for a blatant bubble breach.

It is the third breach in the space of a fortnight after five Canterbury players became close contacts of a COVID-19 case when they visited a Bondi pub two weeks ago.

The NRL is in continual negotiations with state governments, seeking access across closed borders to allow the competition to continue.

"The players have to understand that if they don't follow the protocols there will be no game," V'landys told AAP. 

"And if there is no game not only does it affect their salary and wages, but also the salary and wages of players in the future.  Because it will have a dramatic financial effect on the finances of the game."

GPs start Pfizer jabs for those aged 40-59.

Some 500 GPs across Australia will start rolling out the Pfizer jab to people aged between 40 and 59 this week.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd says a further 800 GPs will come on board during July and August, including many Aboriginal community-controlled organisations.


He said over 8.2 million doses have now been administered in Australia, including five million does of AstraZeneca.

"These vaccines protect you and your family and the wider population against the risk of serious illness and death," Professor Kidd reminded reporters on Sunday.

More than 70 per cent of people aged over 70 years, more than 60 per cent of those aged over 60 years, and more than 50 per cent of people aged over 50 years have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"In addition, nearly 30 per cent of those aged over 16 years have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine," Prof Kidd said.

However, there is still no exact timetable for when under-40s can get the recommended Pfizer vaccination.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said there will be a marked step up in availability of the Pfizer vaccine in the next few months, rising from around 300,000 doses a week now to about 600,000 doses a week, and further increases are forecast in September.

Qld confident after only a few local virus cases.

Queensland authorities are increasingly optimistic they have the upper hand on two COVID-19 variants after reporting few new locally acquired cases on Sunday.

All parts of Queensland are now out of lockdown after cases of the highly contagious Delta strain, and the Alpha strain, were detected in the state's southeast.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told Queenslanders they are not entirely out of the woods but Sunday's figures are excellent news.


"It appears everything is under control at this point in time so we are very, very relieved about that," Ms Palaszczuk said as she reminded people in areas that were locked down to keep wearing masks.

Authorities initially reported just two new cases on Sunday - one involving the Alpha strain linked to a cluster associated with a Greek community centre and a Portuguese restaurant, the other acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.

Late on Sunday a third case was added - another case of local transmission linked to that same cluster. It will be formally included in Monday's case numbers.

From Friday, it will be mandatory for everyone to use the Queensland Check In app when they visit businesses including restaurants and bars, cafes, shopping centres, salons, gyms, stadiums, theme parks and universities.

Lockdown orders lifted for Brisbane and Moreton Bay at 6pm on Saturday and a day earlier for nine other local government areas in the southeast, Townsville, and Magnetic and Palm islands.

NT woman 'spat at worker' over mask request.

A young woman has been charged after allegedly spitting on staff at a Darwin bar when she was asked to wear a face mask in line with post-lockdown restrictions.

The 22-year-old woman allegedly refused a security guard's request to don a mask at The Tap on Mitchell Street in the early hours of Sunday morning.

As she was being removed, a scuffle ensued and the woman allegedly spat in a hospitality worker's face.


NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker described her actions as "completely and utterly disgusting".

Face masks remain mandatory in some settings until Friday including venues in Greater Darwin and Alice Springs.

Meantime, a worker from Newmont's Granites mine has been slapped with a huge fine for failing to isolate.

An outbreak at the Tanami Desert mine, about 540km northwest of Alice Springs, sent both Darwin and Alice Springs into their first lockdowns last week and hundreds of workers into isolation.

One miner, a 38-year-old man, was caught some three blocks away from his room on Saturday night and wasn't wearing a mask.

While he was still on site, NT Police escorted him back to his quarters and issued him a $5056 fine on Sunday morning for two breaches of health directions. 

"He has been flown to Darwin to complete the remainder of his quarantine period under supervision and at his own cost at Howard Springs," incident controller Shaun Gill said.

On the whole, however, Mr Chalker said community compliance with health orders had been "very good" across the NT.

There were no new COVID-19 cases reported in the NT on Sunday as more close contacts in isolation returned negative test results.

WA police search for escapee traveller.

A Tasmanian man who flew to Perth via Sydney is on the run after being denied entry and ordered into hotel quarantine.

West Australian police say the man travelled from Tasmania to Sydney, while the city was in lockdown, and continued on to Perth on Thursday.


He fled after being formally denied permission to enter the state and told to stay in hotel quarantine while waiting for a flight out, police said.

The 32-year-old's current location is not known but police believe he may be travelling with another man from Perth to the Geraldton area.

Western Australia recorded one new local case of COVID-19 on Sunday amid the first phase of interim post-lockdown restrictions in Perth and the Peel region.

The man is the partner of a previous case, a woman who attended a gym in Perth's northern suburbs that is listed as an exposure site.

He has been in self-isolation since June 26 and Health Minister Roger Cook said the man did not pose any public health risk.

It's the sixth case linked to Perth's northern suburbs cluster, which triggered a four-day lockdown last week.

Although two million Perth and Peel residents emerged from lockdown on Saturday, interim restrictions remain in effect including mandatory mask-wearing indoors and outdoors and capacity limits at hospitality venues.

Trump bashes NY charges as, "a terrible, terrible thing."

Former US president Donald Trump has condemned New York prosecutors for bringing charges against his namesake company and longtime financial adviser, using a campaign-style rally to air a host of grievances.

"It's really called prosecutorial misconduct. It's a terrible, terrible thing," Trump told thousands of supporters gathered outdoors in Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday.

The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to what a New York prosecutor called a "sweeping and audacious" tax fraud, arising from a probe into Trump's business and its practices.


Weisselberg and other executives were accused of receiving perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars, without reporting them properly on their tax returns. The outcome of the investigations and other lawsuits facing Trump could affect whether he decides to run again for president in 2024.

"They've mobilised every power of government to come after me, my family, my wonderful employees and my company solely because of politics," Trump told the crowd.

Mexico slammed over fireball in Gulf.

Environmentalists have criticised Mexico's state-owned oil company after a gas leak at an underwater pipeline unleashed a subaquatic fireball that appeared to boil the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Greenpeace Mexico says the accident on Friday appeared to have been caused by the failure of an underwater valve and it illustrates the dangers of Mexico policy of promoting fossil fuels.


President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has bet heavily on drilling more wells and buying or building oil refineries. He touts oil as "the best business in the world".

Greenpeace said in a statement that the fire, which took five hours to extinguish, "demonstrates the serious risks that Mexico's fossil fuel model poses for the environment and people's safety".

Around the world.

- A Philippines Air Force troop plane has crashed in flames killing 45 people after some jumped from the fuselage in the country's worst military air disaster in nearly 30 years.

The plane had attempted to land at Jolo airport, but overshot the runway. It failed to regain enough power and height and crashed.

- Pope Francis is in hospital in Rome for scheduled surgery on his large intestine. It's his first known hospitalisation since he was elected to papacy in 2013.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty.

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