The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Thursday August 6.

Ann Marie Smith's carer has been charged over her death.

Ann Marie Smith's carer has been charged over her death. Image: AAP.  

A woman who cared for Adelaide woman Ann Marie Smith, who had a disability, has been charged with manslaughter over her death.

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


Police launched their investigation soon after, while the NDIS commissioner has appointed former Federal Court judge Alan Robertson to lead an independent inquiry.

They said Smith, 54, had been spending her days and nights in the same woven cane chair with extremely poor personal hygiene and no nutritional food.

On Thursday, detectives charged a 69-year-old woman with her manslaughter.

She is expected to appear in Adelaide Magistrate's Court on Thursday or Friday.

COVID-19 claims youngest Aussie life.

Australia's youngest coronavirus victim, a man in his 30s, has died in Victoria as the state suffered its worst day, with 725 new cases and 15 fatalities announced on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the man was not a healthcare worker, though it has been reported a young trainee doctor is among those fighting for life in intensive care.

"It shouldn't have to get to a tragedy for people to acknowledge that this is a virus that affects everyone," Andrews told reporters.

"It can be deadly and it has been deadly here and around the world in people of all age groups and, indeed, people that are in otherwise good health."


Wednesday's figures bring the state's death toll from the virus to 162 and the national figure to 247.

Of the 15 deaths, 12 are linked to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

The state's previous record was 723 new cases on July 30, though daily case numbers have been in triple digits for a month.

There are 538 Victorians with coronavirus in hospital - an increase of 82 from Tuesday - with 42 of them in ICU.

The latest figures provided by the state government show there are six people under the age of 40 fighting for their lives in ICU, including a child under nine.


Victorian government modelling leaked to The Australian shows the average number of virus case numbers is not expected to decline until the end of August. The modelling suggests average daily new case numbers in Victoria will not return to levels seen before the second wave until October. 

From Thursday, all essential workers in the city will be required to show a permit if pulled over by police to prove they are allowed to leave their homes.

Some workers, such as nurses and police officers, can use their official identification while others have to apply for the permit online.

Businesses caught issuing permits to workers who do not meet the requirements face fines of up to $99,123, while individuals can be fined up to $19,826.

Only essential workers will be allowed to send their children to child care, kindergarten or primary school, and are required to complete a separate permit online.

Queensland-NSW border closure looms.

Queenslanders have been told to get home before the state closes its border with NSW at the weekend.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday announced the closure as Australia recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic so far.

"Victoria hasn't improved as we hoped and I won't wait for NSW to get any worse," she said.


"I will not risk the safety of Queenslanders and I will not risk our economy."

Queensland will close its border with NSW and ban ACT residents from 1am Saturday when Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young declares them coronavirus hotspots.

Road access will be blocked to all vehicles except those from border communities or carrying essential workers.

Queenslanders returning after this time will have to undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

The current restriction on people travelling from Victoria remains in place.

People from non-hotspot locations will have to travel by air or via the Northern Territory border.

The border closures will be reviewed at the end of August.

World rallies to help Lebanon after blast.

As the rubble from the blast in Beirut settled, the scale of the devastation in the Lebanese capital became clear.

There was a frantic search for survivors on Wednesday, with footage of one man emerging from rubble after 10 hours, one of the stories shared on social media.


Before and after photos of the Beirut port area show the area almost completely flattened after a huge explosion that killed at least 135 people - including at least one Australian - and injured more than 5000.


As Lebanon counted its dead and rescuers combed rubble, nations near and far have pledged to help.

From Australia to Indonesia to Europe and the United States, countries readied to send in aid and search teams.

Image: Getty. 


The blast appeared to have been triggered by a fire that torched off a giant quantity of ammonium nitrate fertiliser stored for years in the port, exploding with the force of a moderately strong earthquake, one fifth the size of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.

Paris wasted no time in dispatching two plane-loads of specialists, rescue workers and supplies to Beirut on Wednesday. Reflecting both the gravity of the disaster and France's special relationship with its former protectorate, French President Emmanuel Macron was to visit Lebanon on Thursday.

The disaster comes atop the worst economic crisis in Lebanon's modern history, and hesitancy among some backers, including France, to keep propping up a country in dire need of reform.

The European Union was activating its civil protection system to round up emergency workers and equipment from across the 27-nation bloc. The EU commission said the plan was to urgently dispatch over 100 firefighters with vehicles, sniffer dogs and equipment designed to find people trapped in urban areas.


The Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Poland and the Netherlands were taking part in the effort, with other countries expected to join. The EU's satellite mapping system will be used to help Lebanese authorities establish the extent of damage.

Image: Getty. 

Britain has promised a $9.1 million humanitarian support package.


Iraq was sending six trucks of medical supplies and an emergency medical team to help bolster Lebanon's overstretched health system, and Egypt and Jordan were supplying field hospitals.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country, officially in a state of war with Lebanon, stood ready to offer to assist the Lebanese "as human beings to human beings". 

UN peacekeepers from Indonesia already stationed in Lebanon were helping in the evacuation effort, and Australia said it was donating $A2 million in humanitarian support.

But the pledges of aid raised new questions for a country whose economic and political crisis, combined with endemic corruption, have made donors wary in recent years.

The World Health Organization is airlifting medical supplies to Lebanon to cover up to 1,000 trauma interventions and up to 1,000 surgical interventions, following a request from the country's health minister.

Beirut blast: What we know, and what we don't know.

A massive explosion at the port of Beirut killed more than 135 people and injured thousands. On the day after the catastrophe, many questions still remain unanswered. Here is what we know, and what we don't know, so far:

What we know:

- The place: The explosion happened in an industrial area at the northern port of the Lebanese capital, where the largest damage was sustained at warehouses and corn silos. Nearby lie the central Martyr's square and Beirut's popular nightlife area.


- The explosion: The detonation happened several minutes after 6pm on Tuesday and was followed by a shock wave that rapidly spread in a circle from the epicentre at the port, with a mushroom cloud appearing in the sky above the coastal city.

- Its power: The effects of the explosion and its shock wave were felt as far away as Cyprus. Many people there and in Beirut believed an earthquake was happening at first. Lebanese seismologists said the blast was equivalent to a 4.3-magnitude earthquake.

- The victims: At least 135 people died and more than 5000 were injured, many by flying shards of glass from shattering windows. The number of casualties is expected to rise as rescue teams search the rubble.

- The damage: Due to the power of the explosion, walls and roofs collapsed, roads in the city centre were covered in debris and glass, vehicles and ships were damaged. A first estimate by the government says the damage amounts to $US3 billion to $US5 billion.

What we don't know:

- The explosive: First reports indicate that a large amount of ammonium nitrate could have caused the explosion. Around 2750 tonnes of the highly dangerous substance had been stored at the port for the past six years, according to the prime minister.

- The trigger: It is possible that a smaller explosion happened at a warehouse storing fireworks, which caused a larger fire that triggered a second, much larger blast. This has not been confirmed, however, and it remains unclear whether it was an accident or a deliberately caused explosion.


- The motivation: There are at present no indications that there was a political motivation behind the explosion or that it was an attack, though this has not been totally ruled out yet. Not too far from the port area, a bombing attack in 2005 killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri alongside 21 others.

Victoria's shutdown to weigh on economy.

Economists are busily adjusting their economic forecasts as a result of the tough measures taken by the Victorian government to try to put the lid on its coronavirus outbreak.

Chief economist at consultants KPMG Brendan Rynne expects the stage four lockdown in Australia's second largest state will see an $830 million economic output loss in August - a 2.5 per cent decline.

September could be even worse, particularly if the construction sector runs out of work in the next four weeks.

"My calculations are about 130,000 workers now caught in Stage 4 are in work types that won't be able to work from home," Dr Rynne told AAP.

Of these about 75,000 are in manufacturing, while there is possibly around 50,000 construction jobs that may end up not working by the end of the shutdown.

"Overall, Australia will have a shallower recovery than it would have done," he said.

ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch had expected national unemployment would average eight per cent in the September quarter, rising to 8.5 per cent in the December quarter.


Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe predicts the jobless rate could reach 10 per cent by year-end, although he concedes it is difficult to make forecasts in the face of a pandemic.

Josh Frydenberg during the economic update on Thursday. Image: Getty.  


On Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Victoria is "at war", as the federal government weighs up extra economic support for the state.

Treasury estimated the initial six-week lockdown would cost $3.3 billion, and Frydenberg said the impact on Australia's economy would be far greater.

"Victoria is a quarter of the national economy," he said. "This is a real kick in the guts to Victorian businesses, which will have an impact on employment."

The Reserve Bank will release a range of scenarios for the economic outlook when it releases its quarterly statement on monetary policy on Friday.

Around the world.

- The British government made "critical errors" during the early days of the pandemic, according to a parliamentary report. The report listed a string of failings, including being too slow to recognise the risk of spread from across Europe, especially Spain and criticised the lack of transparency over border decisions.

- Joe Biden will not be going to Milwaukee, the site of the Democratic National Convention, to accept his party’s nomination for president, due to concerns about COVID-19.

- The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 700,000 with the United States, Brazil, Mexico and the UK recording the most deaths.

-With AAP.

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