People should enjoy new freedoms but remain wary of the risks, Boris Johnson has said, as beer gardens, alfresco restaurants, shops and salons prepared to reopen across England on Monday for the first time in almost four months.
The prime minister hailed the reopening – a major and “irreversible” step in the roadmap of easing restrictions – as “a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed”.
It came as just seven coronavirus deaths were reported in the UK within 28 days of a positive test, the lowest number since mid-September. There were also 1,730 people who tested positive, while 221 were admitted to hospital, where there are 2,862 Covid patients overall. The number of vaccine doses distributed is nearing 40m, including more than 7m second doses. More than 400,000 second doses were given in the UK for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday, along with 111,109 first doses.
China’s top disease control official has admitted that the efficacy of the country’s domestically produced vaccines is low as it emerged the authorities are considering mixing them to try to offer greater protection against coronavirus.
The rare admission of weakness on the part of Beijing’s pandemic approach came from the director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, who said Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates”.
“It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunisation process,” he said at a conference on Saturday in the south-western city of Chengdu.
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For ski resorts, spring normally marks a final chance for visitors to carve sun-drenched runs before the season ends.
But at Canada’s most famous ski resort, the gondolas have stopped, and the slopes are eerily quiet.
The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort was shut down by provincial authorities at the end of March after they realised that P1, the highly infectious coronavirus variant traced back to Brazil, was spreading rapidly throughout the community.
As provinces across Canada break records for new cases of the virus, experts have grown increasingly troubled by the rapid and covert spread of variants. With 877 confirmed cases of P1, the province of British Columbia is now the centre of the world’s largest sequenced outbreak of the variant outside Brazil – and nearly a quarter of those cases have been linked to Whistler.
P1 is believed to be a highly infectious mutation of the virus that appears to be more fatal among young people and has the ability to reinfect victims. In Brazil, the P1 variant – along with myriad policy failures – has ushered in a total collapse of the country’s healthcare system.
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About 80% of Sicilians are refusing to be inoculated against Covid-19 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Sicily’s Governor said on Sunday.
Nello Musumeci said:
Every 100 people, 80 say ‘no’ to the Oxford Vaccine.
I understand people are worried, but they have to trust scientists who are saying it is more dangerous not to get vaccinated than to be vaccinated.
According to media reports, prosecutors in the region, one of most populated in the country, have launched an investigation over the death of at least five people who have died as a result of severe coagulation disorders.
They had all allegedly received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Italy’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign risks being held back again after the country’s health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine only be used for over-60s.
Italy’s government has set a target of giving out half a million shots a day, but that goal, so far, is still distant. There have been 15,746 new Covid-19 cases in Italy in the last 24 hours, and 331 more victims of the virus, the health ministry said on Sunday.
According to health authorities, 12,920.208 doses of vaccines have been inoculated and 3,8 million of people have received the second dose.