Here's a recap of the key points from Victoria's press conference this afternoon:
Stay with us, there's plenty more to come today.
As the United States accelerates the search for a coronavirus vaccine, tensions have erupted between government scientists and Moderna, one of the leading developers, Reuters has learned.
The federal government is supporting Moderna’s vaccine project with nearly half a billion US dollars and has chosen it as one of the first to enter large-scale human trials.
But the company - which has never produced an approved vaccine or run a large trial - has squabbled with government scientists over the process, delayed delivering trial protocols and resisted experts’ advice on how to run the study, according to three sources familiar with the vaccine project. The sources said those tensions, which have not been previously reported, have contributed to a delay of more than two weeks in launching the trial of the Moderna’s vaccine candidate, now expected in late July.
Moderna “could be on schedule if they were more cooperative,” one of the sources told Reuters.
Some of the disagreements have stoked concerns over the young biotech firm’s relative inexperience and what the sources described as its lack of staff and expertise to oversee the most critical phase of human trials. The US government is not facing similar problems with established drugmakers, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, working on other leading vaccine candidates, the sources said.
Moderna and other vaccine developers are working with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with networks of immunologists and other vaccine experts tasked by the NIH to help oversee trial design.
Moderna denied any missteps on its part but acknowledged “differences of opinion” with experts involved in the unprecedented effort to deliver on the Trump administration’s pledge to find a vaccine within months. It typically takes about a decade to develop a vaccine - and many efforts fail to produce one at all. Moderna said it has an experienced team that includes people who have run multiple large-scale trials.
“It has not been smooth or easy,” said Moderna spokesman Ray Jordan. “No one has ever done anything like this before - not Moderna, not the NIH, and not any of the other companies.”
In one disagreement, Moderna executives resisted experts’ insistence on close monitoring of trial participants who might contract COVID-19 for changes in oxygen levels that could signal dangerous complications. While other drugmakers complied, Moderna questioned the recommendation as a “hassle” that slowed development, one of the sources told Reuters. Jordan said the company preferred to defer all decisions about monitoring to patients’ physicians but that the company ultimately agreed to some monitoring.
Despite a bumpy process, Moderna remains ahead of other firms in the race for a vaccine, according to statements from the government and the companies. The firm, founded a decade ago, has outpaced much larger companies despite the steeper challenges Moderna faces in scaling up staff and capacity to create a vaccine at breakneck speed. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson are also steaming toward their own large-scale trials, but they are behind Moderna in the United States.
Stephen Thomas, a vaccine developer who is chief of infectious diseases at SUNY Upstate Medical University, said vaccine development can spark such disagreements even without the pressures of an out-of-control pandemic.
“Those tensions, in and of themselves, don't indicate that Moderna is incapable of doing it,” Thomas said.
In a statement to Reuters, the US Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said the government’s collaboration with Moderna, as with all organisations in the project, has been “extremely cooperative.” The agency said Moderna’s vaccine candidate is the most advanced and has shown excellent performance in early trials.
HHS declined to respond to further questions. NIH and the FDA declined to comment.
The cryptocurrency soared to another record high as Elon Musk poured in $US1.5 billion of investment; Boris Johnson defended the UK’s vaccines. Follow updates here.
ASIO and the AFP say universities are at risk of exploitation by foreign states, which are targeting researchers and their families.
In the eye of the COVID-19 storm, the top executive women at the nation’s second-largest private hospitals operator steadied the ship.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the United States is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, one of the world's most popular online platforms.
Noting that India had recently banned dozens of Chinese apps, Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked Pompeo whether the Trump administration was exploring similar action against TikTok, which has around 30 million active American users.
"We're certainly looking at it," Pompeo said, adding that the administration was taking the issue "very seriously." "With the respect to Chinese apps on people's cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right."
He added, "I don't want to get out in front of the president, but it's something we're looking at."
Pompeo's interview comes amid rising tensions with China, which President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed for America's escalating coronavirus pandemic. It also follows an underwhelming crowd at Trump's rally in Tulsa that some blamed on a disruptive campaign led by TikTok users.
Ingraham also asked the secretary of state on Monday whether he would recommend Americans download TikTok or other Chinese social media apps to their phones.
"Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party," Pompeo replied.
In an email to the Washington Post early Tuesday, a TikTok spokesperson denied that the popular video-sharing giant, with hundreds of millions of users worldwide, is influenced by any foreign government.
"TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users," the spokesperson said in an email. "We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
His back up against a wall, President Donald Trump has made a concerted effort in recent weeks to regain a coalition of white voters who can help him win the 2020 presidential election with a message finely calibrated to play on racial anxieties.
He has criticised NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and defended statues commemorating Confederate leaders. He has attacked Black Lives Matter protesters for destroying "our heritage" and called their slogan a "symbol of hate."
Preaching a "law and order" message that harks back to the turbulent 1960s, Trump is betting that a "silent majority" of voters who are unwilling to publicly admit their true feelings about the racial divide will rally to his candidacy at the secret ballot box.
It's an approach that has bewildered most traditional political strategists.
"Everything that Trump says is too over-caffeinated for the people that he needs to win. It's over-caffeinated, it's overhyped, and it actually has the opposite effect on them," Republican pollster Frank Luntz told McClatchy. "I don't know who's writing the speeches for him, but whoever it is has completely misunderstood the people they need to reach."
Trump should shelve his "law and order" language, which is perceived as police assaulting protesters, and campaign on the issue of "public safety," promising to make homes, neighbourhoods and streets safe, Luntz said.
He should quit calling his supporters "warriors" and stop referring to them as the "silent majority" - they are terms that do not appeal to swing voters who think of themselves as "ignored or forgotten" and are looking for a better quality of life, he said.
"It is not too late, it can be rectified, but if he insists on using this language," Luntz said of Trump, "the outcome will be very bad for him in November."
The World Health Organisation on Tuesday urged travellers to wear masks on planes and keep themselves informed as COVID-19 cases surge again in some countries, prompting new restrictions in Australia.
Spokeswoman Margaret Harris urged people not to be caught off-guard by resurgent local epidemics and quarantine measures, saying: "If it's anywhere, it's everywhere and people travelling have to understand that."
"This virus is widespread and people have to take that very, very seriously."
The WHO said last month that it would update its travel guidelines ahead of the northern hemisphere summer holidays but they have not yet been released.
In the meantime, travellers should "remember things will change, or may well change", Harris said at a Geneva briefing.
"We're seeing a lot of upticks, a lot of changes in different countries, countries that had successfully shut down their first transmission are seeing second upticks," she added, mentioning Australia and Hong Kong.
The WHO's previous guidance for travellers has included common-sense advice applicable to other settings such as social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Harris also proposed on Tuesday wearing a mask on planes, a measure which is already a requirement of many airlines.
"If you are flying, there is no way you can social distance in a plane, so you will need to take other precautions including using a face covering," she said.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cleared his public agenda for Tuesday morning as he awaited the result of a coronavirus test, with his office saying the far-right leader who has dismissed the virus as a "little flu" was in good health.
Bolsonaro took the test on Monday evening, according to a statement from the presidency, which added the result would come back Tuesday. Local media had reported that he had symptoms of the coronavirus, such as a fever.
"I came from the hospital," Bolsonaro told supporters after stepping out of his car on Monday evening in comments broadcast by a pro-government YouTube channel. "But all is good," he added.
Bolsonaro said he had undergone a lung scan, which had showed them to be "clean."
The president's public agenda for Tuesday showed an empty morning schedule, with no meetings until 3pm. Local media reported his diary had been cleared as he awaited the result.
The populist leader has repeatedly defied local guidelines to wear a mask in public, even after a judge ordered him to do so in late June. Bolsonaro has also railed against social distancing rules supported by the World Health Organisation.
Brazil has the world's second-largest outbreak behind the United States. More than 65,000 people have been killed by COVID-19 in Latin America's largest country.
Here's a breakdown of the new cases today. There have been 191 new known cases in Victoria.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students enroll at US colleges and universities each year, and right now, a lot of them are freaking out.
As schools try to figure out how to start the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic, some - including Harvard University and the University of Southern California - are opting for online-only instruction. And that means their foreign students will have to leave or transfer, according to new rules issued Monday by the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency.
In order to keep their student visas, foreign nationals have to take in-person classes, according to ICE. The new guidelines quickly sparked rage and anxiety in China, which sends more students to US schools than any other country.
By noon on Tuesday, posts on Weibo related to the new guidelines had gained almost 55 million views. Many aimed their anger at the US president, including one commenter who said Donald Trump's biggest contribution was "boosting Chinese people's patriotism and eradicating all the friendliness and hope for America."
"The pandemic has already made the US unsafe enough, and Trump just made the environment for international students even worse," said Ada Xu, 27, who is getting her masters degree in marketing analytics at the University of Rochester. She's planning to return home to China in August and finish her degree remotely, a decision she calls "totally right."
Among the nearly 370,000 Chinese students in the US, it's not clear how many really might have to leave. The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking the plans of about 1,090 colleges, and as of July 6, only 9 per cent have said they're planning for online classes this fall, compared with 60 per cent that expect to be in-person.
Another 24 per cent, including the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California-Los Angeles, have said they'll offer a mix of in-person and online courses, in order to maximise social distancing and accommodate students who don't want to return to campus.
Still, it's clear the situation is fluid and schools may yet change their plans.
"Everyone is talking about it," said Crystal Chen, who is getting her a PhD candidate at a university in Michigan. "This is already a difficult year for Chinese students, and the new policy is just adding to more uncertainty."
The policy affects the more than 1 million foreign students at US institutions, but Chinese students are the biggest cohort and face significant restrictions on travel home. "Hopefully the university will take some action and help the international students cope," Chen said.
The guidelines also add to the financial stress on American universities, which have become increasingly dependent on foreign students to pay full tuition. At some state-run schools -- including the University of California-Los Angeles, which is planning to offer some on-campus classes this fall -- out-of-state students pay more than double what in-state ones do.
At a regularly scheduled briefing Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China would closely monitor the situation "and will protect the legitimate rights of Chinese students in the U.S."
Jenny Wiggins, Nick Lenaghan, Sue Mitchell
Melbourne's return to lockdown and the closure of Victoria's borders will hurt hotels and restaurants but some offices will stay open and supermarkets are so confident of having enough food and toilet paper that they are lifting shopping restrictions.
Hotels were worried about cancellations after Melburnians were told on Tuesday that they were being locked down for six weeks and could not leave home to holiday or travel to regional Victoria.
Tourism Accommodation Australia chief executive Michael Johnson renewed calls for the JobKeeper program to be extended until next year.
“This is another blow to an accommodation sector which was already on its knees – especially for hotels in regional areas of NSW and Victoria which had just started to see some holidaymakers and business travellers return," Mr Johnson said.
Restaurants that had opened in Melbourne will have to close their doors and will only be able to do takeaway.
But commercial property managers were hopeful they could manage through the crisis, with Investa planning to keep buildings open for tenants unless the state government directed complete closure, said group executive Michael Cook.
Public transport was a bigger issue in terms of managing risk for workers who keep going to the office rather than the buildings themselves, and Investa could adjust its services depending on occupancy levels, Mr Cook said.
"Buildings can be slowed down. You can shut lifts off, you don't need every lift working. You can go onto the low-load chillers. There are all sorts of things you can do to save energy."
Read the full story here:
Australian rare earth miner Lynas says chairman Mike Harding intends to retire by September 30 after more than five years in the role.
Kathleen Conlon, a non-executive director at the firm since 2011, has been elected to succeed Harding.
She is also currently a board member of ASX-listed companies BlueScope Steel and REA Group, among others.
Harding was appointed non-executive chairman in 2015 and in his final years, he saw Lynas become the biggest rare earths producer outside of China, as the rapid growth of the electric vehicle market boosted demand.
Before joining Lynas, Harding held top positions at BP including serving as the president and general manager of BP Exploration Australia.
Ai Group Victorian head Tim Piper said the latest Melbourne lockdown would will "cause untold damage to the economy and employment.
"It's wrong to think that most businesses have an on-off switch that can be flicked without the danger of turning out the lights permanently," he said.
"Some businesses were just starting to recover but now will lose confidence and may be unable to finance a second attempt at recovery. It is hard for any business to make investment plans if they face the prospect of being shut down at any time."