Thursday, September 23

UK eases COVID restrictions as much of continental Europe faces surge in cases


Millions of people in England are poised for their first chance in months of haircuts, casual shopping and restaurant meals on Monday as the government takes the next step on its roadmap to lift the blockade.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are following their own, very similar plans.

Nationwide restrictions have been put in place in England since early January, with similar rules elsewhere in the UK, to suppress a surge in coronavirus infections that hit the country late last year, linked to a new, more communicable variant. first identified in south-east England.

Britain has had the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe, with more than 127,000 confirmed deaths.

But infections, hospitalizations and deaths have decreased thanks to the closure and a mass vaccination program that has given at least one dose to more than 60% of the adult population.

Meanwhile, swathes of continental Europe are seeing cases on the rise, with some countries considering new measures, while others have already tightened restrictions.

Germany

While Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) announced on Saturday that 15.2% of the country’s population, 12.7 million people, have received at least one dose of a vaccine, it said the situation remains ” very, very serious. “

The nation recorded 17,855 new infections and 104 deaths, compared with 12,196 cases and 68 deaths the previous week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel redoubled her support for a brief nationwide “bridge closure” to fill the gap until more people get vaccinated.

France

France has just completed the first week of its national closure, with all schools and non-essential stores closed until the end of April.

French Health Minister Oliver Veran announced a new vaccine strategy on Sunday that will take the waiting time between the two doses of BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna to four to six weeks.

The move was intended to help boost vaccine launches in the country, which, after experiencing problems with supplies and bureaucracy, has finally started to ramp up after a slow start.

Romania

Protesters took to the streets on Saturday in the Romanian capital of Bucharest to protest against restrictive measures to combat the spread of the virus, even as new infections and daily deaths increased in the nation.

The protest was held on the same day that the country surpassed the milestone of having 1 million confirmed COVID cases.

Hospital intensive care units are struggling to cope with the record demand of just under 1,500 COVID-19 patients and another 12,000 are in other wards.

Slovenia and Serbia

Measures were not being reintroduced everywhere on the continent: Two other countries that are set to loosen restrictions on Monday are Slovenia and Serbia.

The former will remove the curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and preschool and elementary schools will reopen, along with galleries, museums and hairdressers.

Shopping centers will welcome customers in Serbia on Monday, but restaurants must continue to serve customers abroad.


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