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PM offers disaster payments for Victorians

Federal government disaster payments will soon be available for Victorians who need to self-isolate for two weeks but have no sick leave.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says people can apply for the $1500 payment multiple times, and it’s primarily aimed at people on short-term visas.

Mr Morrison described Victoria’s situation as heartbreaking after the state recorded 429 new cases on Monday, and 13 more deaths bringing the national toll to 221.

“We know that we have to help them push through, because Australia’s future depends on these weeks and months ahead,” he told reporters in Canberra.

The prime minister encouraged people to contact their friends in Victoria.

“Cheer them up. Encourage them. Let them know you’re there for them if you’re in a state in a much better situation – which, thankfully, all other states and territories are.”

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced further restrictions for Melbourne, with retail, some manufacturing and administration to close from midnight on Wednesday.

“While I never thought that I would be telling people not to go to work, that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus,” he told reporters.

Supermarkets, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, news agencies, post offices and butchers will remain open.

Melbourne residents have started six weeks of a strict lockdown, including an 8pm-5am curfew and no travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise.

It comes as Tasmania closes its borders until at least the end of the month, backtracking on a decision to allow South Australian, West Australian and Northern Territory visitors from Friday.

NSW recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday – 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 family of four, including a baby, from Wagga Wagga in the Riverina region that recently returned home from Melbourne and went into self-isolation.

Criteria for travel between NSW and Victoria was tightened two weeks ago, with movement limited to work, education or medical purposes. NSW residents returning from Victoria are forced into two weeks of self-isolation.

South Australia has reported two new coronavirus cases – both in hotel quarantine – as officials move to reimpose some COVID-19 restrictions.

Premier Steven Marshall announced on Monday the return of restrictions with family gatherings reduced from 50 to just 10 people and trading in pubs and restaurants to be limited to seated patrons only.

Mr Marshall said the new arrangements would take effect from midnight on Tuesday night.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed concern, which she will raise at the next national cabinet meeting, about a travel exemption that allowed an infected embassy worker to fly from NSW to Queensland.

The young consular staff member tested positive to COVID-19 after he returned from overseas and was allowed to fly from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast without quarantining.

The man is now in self-isolation with his wife as health officials race to contact trace people who sat near him.

There were no new cases recorded in Queensland overnight.

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