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Australian PM promises ‘targeted’ economic support

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged major changes to the government’s coronavirus support packages, while pledging “targeted” economic backing.

Morrison told reporters on Monday that the “Jobseeker” and “Jobkeeper” schemes will continue in different forms beyond their planned end date in September, reports Xinhua news agency.

“So it will be phased, and we will be announcing this week the next phase post September,” he said.

“It will be targeted, it will be temporary, it will be effective as the first round has been, but we do know that this first round has been very important.”

Both the wage subsidy and the boosted unemployment benefit were launched in March as COVID-19 restrictions took their toll on the Australian economy.

A total of 12,069 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Australia while 8,392 have recovered, according to the latest figures from Department of Health.

The number of new cases in the last 24 hours was 296.

The national death toll has risen to 123 after a woman in her 80s died in Victoria state.

“Over the past week, there has been an average of 300 new cases reported each day. Of the newly reported cases, the majority have been from Victoria,” said the department.

Victoria authorities have confirmed 275 new cases and reclassified 29 that were previously diagnosed, resulting in a net increase of 246 cases.

There were 20 new cases in New South Wales (NSW), all of which were from known sources, and one in Queensland.

The NSW health authorities said on Monday that there have been 48 confirmed cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula, about 35 km southwest of the Sydney central business district.

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