The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Friday July 16.

Andrews and Morrison make late-night disaster payment deal for Victorians.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews have struck a late night deal to provide financial support to workers affected by the state's fifth lockdown from day one.

That's despite the Commonwealth tweaking eligibility rules from four weeks down to seven, and Victoria's lockdown currently only a five-day circuit breaker.

On Thursday Andrews argued, "We are part of this nation and it's needs-based - it's not foreign aid, we are not a different country." 

Sky News reports the late-night decision came after a "bit of banter."

However, to get access to the disaster payment early, the Victorian workers must be located in an area that has been declared a hotspot by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.

"The entitlement to income support will be for those who have lost between eight and less than 20 hours for a payment of $375 and for 20 or more hours for a payment of $600, during the period of the lockdown," Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg said in a joint statement.

Australia's leaders will meet on Friday for national cabinet, with the nation's two most densely populated states in lockdown.

'Short, sharp' Vic lockdown may go longer.

Premier Daniel Andrews hopes Victoria's fifth lockdown is "short" and "sharp" but cannot guarantee it will only last five days.

More than six million Victorians again found themselves living under stay-at-home orders from just before midnight on Thursday to curb a growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.


The same rules that applied during last month's lockdown have been reimposed, including a 5km travel limit for exercise and shopping and compulsory masks indoors and outdoors.

Mr Andrews said the state's contact tracers were moving faster than ever but haven't been able to keep up with the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.

"We've got no choice. We don't want this getting away from us and being locked down for months," he told reporters. 

Several hundred people gathered outside Flinders Street Station on Thursday night to protest the latest lockdown, listening to speeches and chanting "sack Dan Andrews". 


A flare was lit as they marched to parliament. Police confirmed no arrests were made. 

It came after Victoria recorded two additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Thursday afternoon, taking the number of community cases associated with the separate Sydney-linked outbreaks to 18.

Virus cases in Sydney's aged care, hospitals, ambos.

Sydney's virus outbreak has continued to leak into the city's health care system, with at least 70 paramedics reportedly isolating and cases linked to two major hospitals and an aged care home.

NSW recorded 65 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the number of infected people in the community was yet to decline, despite stay-at-home orders.

Of the new cases, at least 35 people were out in the community for part or all of their infectious period - a number that authorities want to drive down to zero.

"It has been a stable number, it hasn't grown ... (but) unless it comes down, we can't get out of lockdown," Ms Berejiklian told reporters.


Infection numbers continue to rise in southwest Sydney, where testing clinics were inundated this week after essential workers from the Fairfield LGA were ordered to get tested every three days if they work outside the area.

From Friday, around 12,000 teachers and school staff will be prioritised for vaccination at the Fairfield showgrounds hub.

Two of Sydney's major hospitals are on alert after a nurse and a patient were diagnosed with COVID-19.

A pregnant patient at Liverpool Hospital, in Sydney's southwest, was diagnosed with COVID on Wednesday after undergoing a procedure, and a vaccinated nurse who worked at Westmead Hospital in the COVID-19 ward has also tested positive.

On Thursday evening, Minchinbury Manor - an aged care home in Rooty Hill - also confirmed a contract cleaner at the facility had been diagnosed with the virus, prompting the centre to lock down as a precaution.

There are 19 patients in intensive care in NSW, with five ventilated.

Qld at serious risk amid new COVID cases.

Health authorities are racing to ward off yet another lockdown in southeast Queensland, just two weeks after the last one ended.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has warned the state is at serious risk after three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday.

She's most concerned about a worker at Brisbane International Airport, who completed three night shifts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, while she was infectious and was also very active in the community.

The other two cases are a boy, aged 12, who returned from the United States and completed a stint in hotel quarantine in Sydney with his mother before flying to Brisbane on Qantas flight 544 on last Friday, July 9.


The boy has since tested positive, as has his father, who works on the Sunshine Coast. His mother has returned a negative result so far but is in hospital with her child as a precaution.

Dr Young suspects Queensland is dealing with at least one, and possibly two, entirely new outbreaks that are not linked to the cases that sent southeast Queensland and Townsville into a snap three-day lockdown just over a fortnight ago.

She is waiting on genomic sequencing that should reveal the origins of the three latest infections.

Late on Thursday, AAP obtained a letter to parents with children at the Villanova College for boys, at Coorparoo.

It warned a parent of one student had tested positive, but not the student themselves.

Qld premier defends Tokyo Olympics trip.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her scheduled Tokyo Olympics trip will not go ahead if Brisbane enters a COVID-19 lockdown.

But the premier has made it clear that at this stage, she will still attend in the hopes of securing the 2032 Olympic Games bid for Brisbane.

"If we were in a situation like New South Wales, I will not be going, but I am going at this stage," the premier told reporters on Thursday. 


"Let me also make it clear that I am essentially flying in, doing the requirements of quarantine in Tokyo, I am presenting in Tokyo with the Lord Mayor, and also the federal minister, then we have meetings in that same hotel.

"I am not attending any events, whatsoever. I then fly back into Brisbane and I do 14 days hotel quarantine."

A petition to deny her travel to Tokyo reached has surpassed 125,000 signatures.

Virus surges in Tokyo a week before Games.

New coronavirus cases have surged to 1308 in Tokyo, a six-month high, as fears rise of a possible dramatic increase that could flood hospitals during the Olympics that start in eight days.

Tokyo is under a fourth state of emergency, which began on Monday and requires restaurants and bars to close early and not serve alcohol through the Olympics, which start July 23.

Thursday's tally is the highest since 1485 were recorded on January 21, when Japan was under an earlier state of emergency, and is also a jump from Wednesday's 1149.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike noted the largest increase in serious cases and hospitalisations was among people in their 50s and younger who are largely unvaccinated.


South African unrest leaves 117 dead.

Officials say 117 people have died and many others have been injured in the violent unrest in parts of South Africa over the past week.

As deadly rioting continues, more than 2200 people have been arrested, said Khumbuzo Ntshaveni, a minister in the president's office, including a man alleged to be the instigator behind the wave of looting.

About 10,000 soldiers had been deployed on Thursday, she said, after the Defence Ministry prepared to mobilise an additional 25,000 soldiers to help quell the unrest amid fears of a rise in vigilantism.

About 100 acts of violence had been recorded on Wednesday but fewer than three dozen on Thursday, Ntshaveni said.

Chaos erupted across swathes of the country following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma a week ago.

Around the world.

- Indonesia has become the "epicentre" of Asia's COVID-19 outbreak reporting 56,757 new cases on Thursday with just 5.8 per cent of its population vaccinated.

- More than 30 people have died and dozens are missing in Germany and Belgium as heavy flooding affects parts of western Europe. 

- With AAP

Feature image: Darrian Traynor/James D. Morgan/Takashi Aoyama/Getty.