News digest: More freedom for Melburnians, Paris beheading and Pell holds public mass

Oct 19, 2020
Barber shops have reopened across Melbourne today. Source: Getty.

Melburnians will enjoy their first taste of freedom in more than 100 days today, as some Covid-19 restrictions are eased. On Sunday Premier Daniel Andrews announced that, despite the metro area not achieving the goal of a 14-day average of lower than five, some of the strictest rules would be scrapped, including the 5km limit on movement.

From today, those living in metropolitan Melbourne will be able to travel within a 25k radius of their home, while the daily exercise time limit of two-hours will be scrapped. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are now permitted, while tennis courts, golf courses and outdoor swimming pools are also back in business, along with some businesses including hairdressers and mobile pet groomers.

Sadly, retail and hospitality venues remain closed, however if cases remain low then this is set to change on November 1.

“If we continue to follow the rules, if we enjoy these freedoms but do it in a COVID-safe way … then there is every chance that we are able to bring the November 1 deadline forward and take the next big step towards COVID normal some days ahead of the November 1,” the premier said yesterday.

“There is some optimism, a confidence even, that if things continue this week as they have the last five days, we may be able to bring that forward.”

Victoria recorded four new cases of coronavirus on Monday, as well as one further death, taking Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average to 7.2.

Meanwhile in Rome, Cardinal George Pell held a public mass to honour the 10th anniversary of the canonisation of Mother Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint. According to The Australian, the service took place in the Domus Australia chapel, near Porta Pia, over the weekend.

It was Pell’s first mass in Rome since he returned to Australia to face child sex abuse allegations and a number of foreign dignitaries were in attendance, including former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

And in international news, protestors have taken to the streets in Paris following the brutal killing of a teacher in the French capital on Friday. Samuel Paty, who taught history and geography, was beheaded as he made his way home from school last week, with an 18-year-old Chechen refugee claiming responsibility for the crime. The teenager was gunned down by police on Friday afternoon.

It is being widely reported that Paty, 47, was targeted after showing caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad , taken from Charlie Hebdo, during a lesson on freedom of expression. French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Paty was murdered “for teaching a class that had to do with one of the pillars of democracy — freedom of expression”, reports 9News.

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