THE federal government is reinstating pandemic payments and ramping up National Cabinet meetings amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese said it would help state and federal governments coordinate and track the virus over the winter period.
"We need to get the health outcomes right in order to protect people's health and also to protect our economy," he said.
The meetings will now take place ever two or three weeks.
The government is also reinstating pandemic leave disaster payments to September 30.
"This will ensure that those affected by COVID-19 isolation requirements receive income support payments, or study living allowances who are in severe financial hardship continue to receive support during the winter period," Mr Albanese said.
The government will also bring in new temporary telehealth funding to give GPs longer to meet with patients.
State governments gave the National Cabinet updates on their states and agreed to give nationally consistent messaging to the public.
"These measures are important. We will get through this," Mr Albanese said.
GREATER Bendigo has recorded another 247 COVID-19 cases as the government appears set to backdown on a controversial move to scrap pandemic isolation payments.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese met with state premiers on Saturday morning to discuss the latest COVID-19 wave and some news organisations are reporting the government is considering reinstating the $750 payments.
The National Cabinet meeting was brought forward several days.
The prime minister is expected to take comments from the media shortly.
Bendigo's public hospital is grappling with staff shortages and rising coronavirus case numbers as winter progresses.
Almost 1380 people currently have COVID-19 in the municipality and Bendigo Hospital is treating 35.
Of the latest cases, 69 are linked to Bendigo's 3550 postcode, 53 to Kangaroo Flat's 3555 postcode, 26 to Eaglehawk's 3556 postcode and 82 to the regional 3551 postcode.
17 are linked to other postcodes within the municipality.
Elsewhere in the region, the Macedon Ranges Shire recorded 62 new cases, Mount Alexander 28, the Central Goldfields 10, Campaspe 10, Loddon 11, Gannawarra 21 and Buloke four.
- With AAP
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