The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday August 4.

$5,000 on-the-spot fine for breaching Victorian isolation rules.

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced the penalty for breaching isolation rules in the state has increased.

"As everyone has become very well aware, there is a $1,652 on-the-spot fine if you breach the directions of the chief health officer," he said. "There is also a $200 penalty for not wearing a mask when you are out of your home. Not too many of those fines have had to be issued and in the general scheme of things, even the $1,652 fine – that’s only used where it’s deemed appropriate and, again, the vast majority of people are doing the right thing.

"But there are a number of [people] who are not. That’s why I can announce today a new on-the-spot spine, in fact the largest on the-spot fine on the statute books in Victoria – $4,659, but ultimately a $5,000 on-the-spot spine and that will be particularly for those who breach their isolation orders.

"If you are supposed to be at home and you are not, then you face the prospect of a fine of up to $5,000. If there were repeat breaches, if there were particularly selfish behaviour like, for instance, going to work when you had the virus, then there is the alternative pathway and that is, of course, taking you to the magistrates court, where the maximum penalty that can be applied to you is $20,000."

Police minister Lisa Neville said Victorian police had seen "a number of people breach the curfew". 

"Somebody who decided they were bored and they were going to go out for a drive, somebody who decided that they needed to buy a car after 8pm last night, drive across the city of Melbourne and we’ve also seen people who have picked up people from other households, again breaching the direction and then also briefing the curfew," she said.


"All of those people were infringed last night. So be in no doubt Victoria Police are using their powers to do that. They will have extra police out there."

Police commissioner Shane Patton then addressed the media.  

"In the last week, we’ve seen a trend, an emergence if you like, of groups of people - small groups, but nonetheless concerning groups - who classify themselves as sovereign citizens - whatever that might mean - people who don’t think the law applies to them," he said.

"We’ve seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing a name and address.

"On at least four occasions in the last week, we’ve had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details because they weren’t adhering to the Chief Health Officer guidelines, they weren’t providing their name and address.

"We don’t want to be doing that, but people have to absolutely understand there are consequences for your actions and if you’re not doing the right thing, we will not hesitate to issue infringements, to arrest you, to detain you where it’s appropriate."

Victorian businesses brace for 'significant pain'.

Victorian businesses are bracing for "significant pain" as many prepare to scale back production or shut down altogether, putting another 250,000 people out of work.


Premier Daniel Andrews outlined a three-tiered system for Melbourne workplaces, effective from Thursday, to complement the city's six-week 'stage four' lockdown combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

"There will be very significant pain," he told reporters on Monday.

He said the alternative was having up to 500 cases of COVID-19 a day, which would eventually overwhelm the hospital system and lead to more deaths.

The state recorded 429 new cases of coronavirus on Monday and 13 deaths, taking the state toll to 136 and the national figure to 221. It equals last Thursday as the state's worst day for fatalities.

"It is heartbreaking, it is very challenging, but these are tough calls that have to be made," Andrews said.

Image: Getty.


He estimated that roughly 250,000 workers would be stood down under the latest changes.

They'll join a further 250,000 people who are already out of work under 'stage three' restrictions, with another 500,000 people working from home.

Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, post offices and banks will remain open as part of the first group.

Hardware stores such as Bunnings will be accessible to tradespeople, but move to "click and collect" for members of the public.

Those classed in the second group, however, will not be able to operate at all.

Bearing the brunt of the impending closures is the retail industry, with travel and tour agencies, car washes, furniture wholesalers and hairdressers among those to close.

Pubs, taverns, bars, clubs, nightclubs and food courts had already closed their doors, while cafes and restaurants will continue to run as takeaway services only.


Other industries will cut back production under the third category of businesses.

Meatworks across the state - a consistent source of outbreaks - will run at two-thirds capacity, with staff dressed in full medical kit and unable to work at multiple locations.

Large-scale construction will be capped at 25 per cent of the regular workforce, while small-scale projects will only be allowed up to five workers on site.

"We are moving them to a pilot-light phase," Mr Andrews said.

"Not being turned off completely but they are dramatically reducing the number of people they have working for them and their output over the next six weeks."

Mr Andrews said the state government would expand its $5000 grant program for impacted businesses to reflect restrictions running much longer than first expected.

To support Victoria, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would establish a $1500 fortnightly "disaster payment" for paid pandemic leave.

It will be available for workers who need time off to deal with the virus but don't have sick leave.

For more on Melbourne's lockdown rules already announced, check out our explainer here.

Concerns over "leaky sieve" NSW border.

Concerns are growing about NSW's open borders, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian pledging the state will get tougher with its border restrictions if needed.


NSW reported 13 new COVID-19 cases on Monday - four of which were returned travellers from overseas or Victoria, and one with no known source.

Another four cases were announced from the weekend - a 52-year-old woman, her son, daughter-in-law and their baby.

The family had recently returned from Melbourne to Wagga Wagga in the Riverina region and went into self-isolation as required.

Image: Getty.


Criteria for travel between NSW and Victoria was tightened two weeks ago, but with Victoria continuing to record hundreds of new cases each day, the NSW premier hasn't ruled out further restrictions.

"If we have to do more, we will," the NSW premier told reporters on Monday.

On Monday night's Q&A, former Australian Medical Association president Professor Kerryn Phelps AM criticised the NSW government's lax approach to border control.

"I'm concerned that there are still planes coming in from Melbourne to Sydney without any checking, and people just being asked to self-isolate in Sydney when they arrive," Dr Phelps, a City of Sydney councillor, said.

"We don't know how many people are actually doing [that]."


A Nine News investigation at Sydney airport saw travellers from the hotspot state leaving in taxis and Ubers, with fears the virus could be transferred to drivers.

Fourteen of 17 planned flights between Sydney and Melbourne on Tuesday have been cancelled, but Dr Phelps said the border control was a big concern.

"That's not a closed border. That's a very leaky sieve," she said.

"When we know that there are thousands of active cases in Victoria, there could be up to 10 times as many people who are infected who don't know it. And yet we're just letting people get on planes without having a test.

"It's obvious that NSW is on a precipice, and unless we take this seriously, and unless we actually have an effective closed border, we are going to see leakage of these cases from Victoria over to NSW."

Dr Phelps also said she believes NSW should move towards compulsory face masks, "one of the single most responsible things that we can do as members of the community to protect each other".


It comes after five million Melburnians spent their first night locked inside with an 8pm-5am curfew under stage four restrictions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday declared a state of disaster, along with a suite of new restrictions, which will be enforced until at least September 13.

Among them is a travel limitation of five kilometres from home for Melburnians, which Berejiklian says will help protect NSW.

"When Victorians themselves cannot be mobile, it obviously helps our job in reducing people getting across the border. But no matter how tough you are, borders aren't impenetrable, we have to remember that," Berejiklian told reporters.

The NSW government, meanwhile, is strongly recommending people wear masks in high-risk situations as the state enters what Berejiklian labelled a critical phase.

States reimpose COVID-19 restrictions.

South Australians will face tougher restrictions from Tuesday night, as the state hopes to prevent the spread of coronavirus across state borders.

Family gatherings will be limited to 10 people, down from 50, and pubs and restaurants will only be able to serve alcohol to patrons who are seated.

There are eight active cases in SA.

"We're extraordinarily concerned about the Victorian outbreak and the potential for seeding in other jurisdictions," Premier Steven Marshall said.


"It's very important we act swiftly, listen to the expert advice and that we stay in front of the game here in South Australia.

"Every single thing we do is to keep the people of South Australia safe during this coronavirus pandemic."

Marshall also indicated more restrictions could be on their way, with the state's transition committee "looking very closely at density arrangements" at venues, as well as crowd numbers at sporting events like football, and arrangements for fitness studios.

The SA Government is likely to limit AFL crowds to 10,000, down from 20,000, but a final decision has not yet been made.

Tasmania's state border, which was set to open to visitors from SA, Western Australia and the Northern Territory this week, will remain closed until at least August 31.

Premier Peter Gutwein said Tasmania would "use our best asset... which is our moat" to protect against the disease.

"Tasmania remains coronavirus-free, [but] we can't become complacent, everybody is taking note of what's occurring [in Victoria]," Gutwein said on Monday.

"We only have to look across Bass Strait, it is concerning and it is alarming and Tasmanians are thinking of them.

"All Tasmanians have been asked to make sacrifices, we do whatever we can to keep in front of this.

"The last thing that we want is to introduce restrictions, to go backwards. We are in a good place, [the public] needs to continue to work with us."


Gutwein said the border rules would be reviewed "on a week-by-week basis".

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for an end to exemptions to her state's hotel quarantine rules after an infected man said he was a consular official to avoid two weeks in a hotel.

The man said he was a consular official but he was a private security contractor, DFAT said.

He was allowed to take a domestic flight from Sydney to Maroochydore last Friday before driving to Toowoomba, where he tested positive for coronavirus. 

Ann Marie Smith taskforce delivers disability care recommendations.

Extra resources to safeguard people with disabilities considered particularly vulnerable will be fast-tracked in South Australia following the death of a woman in appalling circumstances.

Ann Marie Smith, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died in hospital in April from septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnourishment while under the care of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Ann Marie Smith. Image: Supplied.


Police have launched a manslaughter inquiry into her treatment and the NDIS commissioner has appointed former Federal Court judge Alan Robertson to lead an independent inquiry.

The state government also established a task force to examine gaps between the state and federal systems that may put people like Smith at risk.

Its final report was released on Monday, with the government accepting a recommendation to dramatically increase resources for the adult safeguarding unit from October this year, instead of from 2022.

Disability advocate and task force member David Caudrey said the question of whether a case such as Smith's could happen again was one of the "nightmares" of anyone working in the sector.


"There is always a possibility where terrible neglect is involved and people are very socially isolated... in those circumstances bad things can happen," he said.

"All you can do is identify all the reasons why this might happen and try to do your best to close those gaps and mitigate those circumstances."

However, Caudrey said he was very confident that if all the report's recommendations were implemented then what happened to Smith would be "infinitely less likely" to happen again.

In other recommendations, the state government will provide extra funding for disability advocacy in SA and would work with the NDIS on the continued implementation of a community visitor scheme to ensure greater checks were conducted on people with a disability.

Soon after her death, police said Smith had been spending her days and sleeping at night in the same woven cane chair with extremely poor personal hygiene and no nutritional food.

Their investigations have since included the search for a large amount of missing jewellery and irregular spending from an inheritance the 54-year-old had received.

Man arrested after fatal Sydney stabbing.

A man has been arrested after a woman was fatally stabbed in Sydney's northwest.

Police say that at about 4.50pm on Monday emergency services were called to a unit on Ingleby Street, Oatlands, following reports a woman had been stabbed.


The woman, aged in her 30s, was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being taken to Westmead Hospital where she died.

Officers arrested a 25-year-old man, who was known to the woman, at the scene and he is helping with inquiries.

Another man, also known to the woman, was treated for a minor injury.

Around the world.

- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has conceeded a trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia will not be happening "anytime soon" due to Australia's community transmission levels. "One of the things we said as part of our criteria was that anywhere we have quarantine-free travel, they have to be free of community transmission for a period of time, 28 days," she said on Monday. "That is going to take a long time for Australia to get back to that place."

- Researchers in Italy have found that more than half of 402 COVID-19 survivors monitored suffered higher rates of mental health disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, insomnia and depression, according to a report in scientific journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

- US President Donald Trump said he would approve of Microsoft or another major US company buying the US arm of the social media app TikTok. He has continued his threat of banning the short-form video platform if an acquisition deal is not reached by September 15.

-With AAP.

Feature image: Getty/ABC.