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Canberra to go into lockdown, and everything else you need to know today, Thursday August 12.

Canberra will go into lockdown, as NSW announces new areas of concern.

Canberra has recorded its first case of community transmission in 13 months and is expected to go into lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

It comes after cases spread into northwest NSW, sending a host of regional communities into lockdown.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has scheduled a media conference with police and health authorities for 12.15pm AEST.

Meantime, NSW has announced three more local government areas that will be subject to further restrictions from 5pm this evening, in light of growing numbers. These LGAs are Bayside, Strathfield and Burwood. 

The Hunter and the Upper Hunter have also had their lockdown extended for at least one week as cases continue to grow.

It comes after NSW recorded 345 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19. Victoria recorded 21 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

Sydney to get stricter on wrong-doers with fears lockdown "could drag until November."

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller will lead a crackdown on people ignoring public health orders in Sydney, with the Inner West  - home to 350,000 residents - potentially looking at a harsher lockdown.

A crisis cabinet meeting was held on Wednesday, to look at tightening gaps in public health orders to strengthen police powers in response to breaches.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is encouraging everyone eligible in NSW to get jabbed and help the state reach its vaccination target, as COVID-19 continues to spread into the regions. 

"Two doses of 70 per cent vaccination [is the target] and NSW, if we had the current pace, we will hit that around the end of October," the premier said on Wednesday. 

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But life won't be "back to normal" until 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated towards the end of the November, the premier said, referencing the Doherty Institute modelling produced for the national cabinet. 

Ms Berejiklian said some people in NSW might be allowed more freedoms if six million vaccinations - or roughly 50 per cent having a first dose - were administered by the end of August.

But some experts and epidemiologists are suggesting that Sydney might not exit its lockdown until November, with University of NSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws telling The New Daily, achieving only six million jabs in an environment of high and rising cases is not the right time to ease restrictions.

NSW reported 344 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday. 

On the second worst day of the eight-week outbreak, at least 101 of the new cases were circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period. 

Another two people have died - a man in his 30s with underlying health conditions from Sydney's northern beaches and a man in his 90s, taking the number of COVID-related deaths in the outbreak to 34. Both men were unvaccinated. 

A Sydney man who prompted the Byron Bay lockdown when he travelled to the region while symptomatic has been served a court attendance notice at Lismore Base Hospital.

The 52-year-old man from Rose Bay will be charged, having travelled to Byron Bay with his two children without a "reasonable excuse" and in contravention of the public health orders, police said.

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Late on Wednesday eight local government areas in western NSW were also placed into lockdown after a COVID-19 case was detected in Walgett.

Stay-at-home orders will apply to Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine, Walgett and Warren LGAs, from 7pm for one week. 

More than six million people in Sydney and surrounds are now in lockdown until at least August 28, with the Hunter, Byron Bay, Armidale and Tamworth areas also enduring lockdowns.

There were no extra cases in Armidale, Tamworth or the Northern Rivers region but it's unlikely the Hunter region will come out of lockdown on Thursday after 14 new cases were recorded overnight. 

Meanwhile, Bathurst Correctional Centre is the first NSW prison this year to record a COVID-19 infection and has been locked down as a precautionary measure.

Melbourne's lockdown extended by a week.

Melburnians will spend another week in lockdown, with the premier warning Victoria would find itself battling a similar outbreak to NSW were it to open up now.

The state recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, of which 15 are linked to known outbreaks, but the origins of five are a mystery.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there was no option but to extend the lockdown, given the mystery cases and the fact six were not isolating throughout their infectious period. 

73 people were arrested during an anti-lockdown protest on Wednesday.

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"There are too many cases, and too many cases the origins of which are not clear to us, too many unanswered questions, too many mysteries for us to safely come out of lockdown now," Andrews told reporters. 

He said if the state were to open with the Delta variant circulating in the community, there would be a high number of cases in a short space of time. 

The lockdown, the state's sixth, was due to end on Thursday but will be extended until 11.59pm on August 19. 

Regional Victoria will remain out of lockdown, but those living on the Victoria-NSW border will need a permit to travel between states from 6pm Friday.  

Majority of Qlders yet to have first jab.

Queensland has achieved a major milestone in its vaccination rollout but remains light years away from where it needs to be, the health minister has warned.

Just over 40 per cent of all eligible Queenslanders have now had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, offering them some level of protection.

But it's the other 60 per cent who have no shield against the deadly virus that has Yvette D'Ath pleading for action.

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"Don't wait. Get vaccinated today ... please look at all of your options," she told Queenslanders on the opening day of a mass vaccination hub at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

"We watch in sadness at what's happening in NSW. There continues to be, on average, one person dying from COVID every three days in NSW."

There was good news for Queensland on Wednesday, with no new cases in the far northern communities of Cairns and Yarrabah, allowing a three-day lockdown to lift.

SA opens Pfizer vaccinations to people aged 16 and over.

South Australia will start offering Pfizer to anyone over 16 from next week, with state-run clinics running 127,000 extra bookings during September and October to meet the expected demand.

SA Health's Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, said the doses administered in South Australia so far had ensured some of the state's most vulnerable people were now protected.

The Northern Territory already offers Pfizer to anyone aged 16 and over.

SA's 'cruel' quarantine of Olympians: AOC.

South Australia is inflicting a cruel double quarantine on Olympians which risks the mental wellbeing of athletes, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) says.

The AOC says the SA government's decision to enforce another 14-day quarantine on athletes returning to the state - on top of their current 14-day period served elsewhere - defies medical advice.

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A group of 16 Olympians from SA are currently quarantining in Sydney after returning to Australia from the Tokyo Olympics.

A further 40 SA Olympians will return home at later dates.

The SA government has rejected AOC appeals to grant exemptions for the returning Olympians, who will isolate at their homes rather than at quarantine hotels.

Australia's Olympic team chief medical officer David Hughes says the SA government decision is flawed.

"To have individuals quarantined for such a lengthy period of time is ... unreasonable and cannot be scientifically justified," Dr Hughes said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It poses a significant risk to the physical and mental wellbeing of the individuals." 

WA to pass abortion buffer law.

Western Australia is close to joining every other Australian state and territory in legislating safe access zones around abortion clinics.

The state parliament is set to pass a government bill which will prevent people from picketing within 150 metres of facilities that provide abortion services.

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Debate is continuing in the Legislative Council but its passage is assured given the McGowan Labor government's majority in both houses.

Family planning healthcare provider Marie Stopes says the bill's passage will prevent women from intimidation and harassment when accessing abortions.

It says picketers spend almost 2300 hours each year outside the Marie Stopes Midland clinic and that staff have also been targeted.

Prince Andrew 'likely to try to avoid testimony'

Prince Andrew is likely to do anything he can to avoid giving evidence in a United States lawsuit filed by an American woman who alleges that he sexually assaulted her when she was 17, lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic say.

Andrew may contest the US court's jurisdiction, or ignore the civil lawsuit altogether, taking a chance the court might find him in default and order him to pay damages.

The prince has repeatedly denied the allegations in the lawsuit, brought by one of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's longtime accusers, Virginia Giuffre.

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"I don't think he will submit to the court's authority to order him to give a deposition, or to answer questions on which he wishes to demur," said D'Aquino, a partner at Goldberg Segalla in Buffalo, New York.

"He runs too much risk of self-incrimination, which could then spawn a criminal action against him," D'Aquino said.

However he decides to respond, the lawsuit filed on Monday is another unwanted story for the Queen, reminding people of Andrew's links to Epstein two years after the convicted sex offender's death. 

Buckingham Palace tried to move past the story two years ago, forcing Andrew to step away from royal duties after he gave a disastrous TV interview in which he failed to express regret over his relationship with Epstein or offer sympathy for Epstein's victims.

Lawyers for Giuffre filed the suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001, when she was 17. 

The suit says she had sexual encounters with Andrew in London, New York and the US Virgin Islands, and that the prince knew she had been trafficked by Epstein.

Navalny charged with more crimes in Russia.

Jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny is facing an even longer imprisonment after being charged with founding an organisation that violates civil rights, the Russian investigating authority says.

His anti-corruption fund FBK had encouraged people to "engage in illegal activities," it added.

According to the law, Navalny could face up to three years in prison, a fine or forced labour.

Navalny's team wrote in response to the new accusation that the only one who violates the rights of Russian citizens is President Vladimir Putin.

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Recently, a Russian court classified Navalny's anti-corruption fund and other organisations as extremist and thus banned them.

Critics complained that this was intended to politically eliminate supporters of the opposition just weeks before parliamentary elections.

Navalny has been imprisoned for several months.

He was arrested at a Moscow airport in mid-January on his return to Russia from Germany.

Shortly afterwards, a court sentenced him to several years in a penal camp.

Around the world.

- There are reports the government and sporting officials are formulating a bid for the FIFA World Cup in Australia.

- The Italian island of Sicily may have registered the hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe - 48.8C. The reading, which needs to be verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), was reported near Syracuse on Wednesday.

- With AAP

Feature image: Lisa Maree Williams/Dan Kitwood/Getty/ Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty.

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