WHO warns of rise in Covid instances throughout Europe for third consecutive week as restrictions are eased

A Covid patient breathes oxygen through a mask on October 13, 2021 in the sub-intensive care unit of the Casalpalocco Hospital south of Rome.

Alberto Pizzoli | AFP | Getty Images

Covid cases in Europe have increased for the third week in a row, World Health Organization officials said at a briefing on Wednesday, urging caution as temperatures drop and work, travel and leisure activities return to normal.

Europe is the only area of ​​the six WHO member states where cases are increasing, researchers wrote in an epidemiological update published on Tuesday. In the week leading up to Sunday, more than 1.3 million Covid cases were reported across the continent, a 7% increase from the seven days before.

“That’s three weeks of progressive increase,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO Executive Director, Emergency Health Program, during a Q&A stream on the organization’s social media channels. “Although the overall global curve looks like it is going down, Europe has gone up for three weeks in a row.”

The situation in Europe is being driven in part by surges in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, where Ryan said Covid cases rose 50% in the past week. With the coming winter, said Ryan, Covid is already beginning to weigh heavily on the health systems in some countries and is limiting the availability of intensive care beds.

Ryan blamed the increase, at least in part, on easing Covid restrictions.

“The northern hemisphere is approaching yet another winter and we just have to worry a little about this uptrend across Europe as we step into late, late, deep autumn,” said Ryan. “And as societies open up, we see these numbers increasing, and in a number of countries we are already seeing the health systems under pressure, we are seeing the number of available ICU beds falling.”

And as people prepare for the Christmas season for travel and face-to-face meetings, Ryan urged unvaccinated individuals to immunize themselves against the virus in hopes of preventing Covid outbreaks in the months ahead.

“There is good news in the sense that we are not seeing this massive increase, but it is still worrying even with relatively high vaccination rates,” he said.

In addition to the highly transferable Delta variant, which fueled the global Covid peaks in the summer, researchers are now observing a development of the strain that could be even more dangerous. Known as Delta Plus, Experts in the UK see the mutation in a growing number of Covid patients.

But there is currently no evidence that Delta Plus is more contagious than its predecessor, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

And amid a spike in Covid cases and deaths, Russian President Vladimir Putin is asking most workers to stay home for a week from October 30, according to the Associated Press. Russia reported a seven-day average of nearly 31,700 new Covid cases on Tuesday, up from more than 27,200 a week earlier, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

UK medical doctors name for return of Covid restrictions; new mutation watched

Fireman Dan Joslin, wearing a face shield, helps leave a Covid-19 patient vulnerable while working with critical care workers in the intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, southern England.

ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – British medical professionals have urged the UK government to reintroduce some Covid restrictions due to the increased infection rate and hospital admissions in the country.

Health officials warned late Tuesday that the UK is at risk of “falling into a winter crisis” if the government does theirs “Plan B,” a promise it made last month in which it said it would reintroduce Covid measures if data suggests the National Health Service “is likely to come under unsustainable pressure”.

Officials from the NHS Confederation, representing organizations across the UK health sector, called on the government to “Immediately introduce measures such as mandatory face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces to preserve people’s health and prevent the NHS from overwhelming this winter.” . “

They warned the National Health Service “is seeing worrying increases in coronavirus cases in its hospitals and community at a time when it is preparing for a busy winter time, its employees are on the verge of burnout, and many of him are about to recover.” Services disrupted by the pandemic. “

The UK is currently seeing between 40,000 and 50,000 new Covid cases every day, and the number of hospitalizations and deaths is steadily increasing, albeit at a much slower pace than earlier in the pandemic thanks to Covid vaccines, which greatly reduce the risk of serious infection. Hospitalization and death.

On Tuesday, the UK reported 43,738 new Covid cases, down from Monday when 49,156 new cases were recorded, the highest daily number in three months.

Situation “only gets worse”

Covid restrictions in England were lifted on July 19 when pubs, restaurants and nightclubs reopened. Even outside of public transport, wearing masks has largely become a personal decision.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government previously insisted that Covid restrictions and possible lockdowns would only return as a last resort and that the country “needs to learn to live with the virus”.

On Wednesday, UK Economy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng reiterated this position, saying, “I absolutely think it would be completely wrong for us to go into lockdown again,” he told Times Radio.

He noted that hospital admissions and death rates were much lower than in previous pandemic climaxes, adding that “we are learning, I believe, to live with the virus”.

The NHS Confederation said Tuesday on the additional measures the UK might now adopt, “clear notifications to the public that the risk has increased, the introduction of certificates for people’s Covid vaccine status and the legal obligation to do so in certain environments To wear face covering. in addition to considering asking people to work from home when they can. “

Many of these measures, particularly with regard to the wearing of masks and Covid certification, “are already common in parts of Europe where the prevalence of the disease is lower,” the NHS association noted.

In his speech on Wednesday morning, Confederation chairman Matthew Taylor warned that the NHS, a popular institution in the UK and even more so during the pandemic, was “on the verge” of increasing the number of Covid patients being watched in hospitals.

“I speak to health officials every day, and I have literally not spoken to a leader who does not say that their ministry is now under a lot of pressure. This is the middle of October. Things are only getting worse, ”he told BBC radio.

“Health care is on the fringes … if you go much further, we won’t be able to provide the service that people need to be.”

New mutation

A new mutation of the Delta variant, which British experts are closely monitoring, may make things more difficult.

Last Friday, the UK Health Security Agency released a report stating that “a delta subline newly designated AY.4.2 is expanding in England” and that it is monitoring the subtype.

The highly contagious Delta variant is the world’s dominant version of the coronavirus, having usurped the previous “alpha” variant of the virus, which was first discovered in the UK

This new descendant of the Delta Covid variant, AY.4.2, has been identified in a growing number of UK Covid cases, with some suggesting that this could be another possible factor in rising case numbers, although it is too early to be to say for sure.

“This subline is currently increasing in frequency. It includes the spike mutations A222V and Y145H. In the week beginning September 27, 2021 (the last week with full sequencing data), this subline accounted for approximately 6% of all generated sequences on an increasing trajectory That estimate may be inaccurate … Another assessment is ongoing, “noted the UK Health Authority.

Official spokesman for the Prime Minister told Sky News on Tuesday the “[AY.4.2] we are watching very closely “and there is currently no evidence that this variant is more easily spread. I do not hesitate to take action if necessary,” he said.

Former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb also tweeted about the subtype over the weekend.

“The UK reported its largest one-day increase in Covid cases in 3 months, just as the new Delta variant AY.4 with the S: Y145H mutation in the spike reached 8% of the sequenced cases in the UK,” said Gottlieb. “We need urgent research to find out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?”

Imperial College London professor of immunology Danny Altmann told CNBC on Monday that the subtype “needs to be monitored and carefully controlled as much as possible.”

“Since Delta has been the dominant mutant in several regions for about six months and has not been displaced by other variants, there was hope that Delta might be represented [the] Maximum performance of the mutation that the virus can achieve. AY.4 could cast doubt on this claim, “he warned.

Why is the UK in this mess?

Experts say there are a myriad of reasons behind the UK’s high Covid numbers – from half-hearted mask adoption (even when masks are required, like on public transport, the rule is rarely enforced) to large indoor gatherings that spread the virus.

The UK’s reluctance to vaccinate younger adolescents, which other countries in Europe and the US did much earlier, and the return to schools in September were also cited as reasons for the surge in cases. Although the infection boom among 0-18 year olds is now ebbing as infections increase in their parents’ generation, the data shows.

Ironically, the early introduction of vaccination in the UK – which began in December 2020 and was one of the first in the world – is also now seen as a contributor to its high case rate, as we know – due to a increasing amount of data – that immunity in vaccinated people decreases after about six months. To date, 78.9% of the UK population over 12 is fully vaccinated, show official data.

Singapore on new journey lanes, Covid restrictions, dwelling with Covid

People walk at a pedestrian crossing along Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore on September 9, 2021.

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SINGAPORE – Singapore announced on Saturday that it would open new travel routes for vaccinated visitors from 8 additional countries.

It came when his Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong predicted that it will take anywhere from three to six months to achieve a “new normal” of living with Covid.

The Southeast Asian country will introduce more vaccinated travel routes (VTL) – with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Great Britain and the USA, the Department of Transport said.

“All 8 countries are already open to travelers from Singapore. The VTLs will restore the quarantine-free two-way traffic between Singapore and you, “said Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Saturday.

We should respect Covid-19, but we must not let fear paralyze us.

Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister of Singapore

The initiative allows quarantine-free travel for vaccinated people, but travelers must take Covid-19 tests to ensure they don’t contract the virus before entering.

Applications will open on Tuesday, and travelers from those countries who meet the conditions will be able to enter Singapore from October 19, the minister said.

Singapore announced the initiative with South Korea on Friday. The city-state already has similar agreements with Germany and Brunei in September.

Living with Covid

In a national address on Saturday, Singapore’s Leader Lee explained when the “new normal” might occur.

“How will we know when we are coming to the new normal? It will be when we can relax the restrictions, just have light” [safe management measures] stay in place and the cases stay steady – maybe hundreds a day, but not increasing, “said Lee worried or feeling strange.”

He urged the nation not to be “paralyzed by fear” and said that “sooner or later each of us will encounter the virus – that means all older people will also encounter the virus”.

He said regions like Europe had reached this state, but “paid dearly for it” and lost many lives.

“It will take at least three months and maybe even six months to reach this new norm,” added Lee.

Tightening measures for unvaccinated people

Singapore will also tighten some Covid restrictions on unvaccinated people.

Those who are not vaccinated will be banned from entering shopping malls, Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s trade minister and co-chair of the government’s coronavirus task force, said in a briefing on Saturday. Even vaccinated people are now restricted to two people entering shopping malls, he said.

Unvaccinated people are also not allowed to dine in coffee shops and food centers – open-air food restaurants in the country where this was previously allowed are limited to two people per table.

The Singapore Ministry of Health said recent measures are aimed at protecting those who are more vulnerable, such as the unvaccinated and the elderly.

These restrictions come into effect on Wednesday.

Singapore’s Covid Strategy

Singapore had maintained a zero-covid strategy for most of the pandemic but had started to open up after the population’s vaccination rate hit more than 80%. By October 7, 83% of the population had completed two doses of a Covid vaccine.

But after the restrictions were eased, the number of cases soared, hitting daily highs for the past few days, hovering over 3,400.

Authorities in Singapore last month Tightened Covid measures again to slow community broadcasts and protect hospitals from congestion. They reduced the group size for social gatherings from five to two and made working from home the standard to encourage vulnerable populations such as the elderly to stay at home as much as possible.

The total number of infections on Friday stands at 120,454 with 142 deaths. However, according to the country’s health ministry, 98.4% of those infected had no or mild symptoms in the past 28 days.

U.S. to ease journey restrictions for overseas guests who’re vaccinated towards Covid

People arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on March 13, 2020. in New York City.

Pablo Monsalve | Corbis News | Getty Images

The US will ease travel restrictions for international visitors vaccinated against Covid-19 in November, including those from the UK and the EU, the White House said on Monday.

Non-citizens visiting the United States must provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test within three days of departure, said Jeff Zients, who leads the nation’s Covid response efforts for the White House.

The changes go into effect in early November, which the aviation industry expects to boost vacation bookings.

“You have to provide proof of vaccination before boarding a plane to the US,” Zients said during a press conference.

Airlines and other tour groups have urged the US to lift restrictions for months. The Trump administration first enacted the rules, which now apply to more than 30 countries, in March 2020. President Joe Biden kept these rules January, shortly after taking office.

The Biden administration is also tightening the rules for unvaccinated US citizens returning to their homes. You must test one day before you leave and test again when you return.

European and UK officials have eased entry requirements to make it easier for US travelers to visit since vaccines became widespread this spring, but the US hadn’t reciprocated.

Allowing more international travelers to visit the United States would have far-reaching implications. A travel ban for non-U.S. Residents has far-reaching implications for industries like airlines, retail and restaurants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also require airlines to collect and provide passenger information to aid in contract tracking.

“In the coming weeks, CDC will issue a contact tracing mandate that will require airlines to collect updated information for every traveler to the US, including their phone number and email address,” said Zients.

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines Stocks rose after the White House announced an end to travel bans to avoid a wider market sell-off. These airlines offer the most international service of any US carrier and will benefit the most from the policy change.

“We applaud the Biden administration for establishing a pathway to reopen international travel to the US,” Delta said in a statement.

The Atlanta-based airline said it was “optimistic that this important decision will enable continued economic recovery in both the US and abroad and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months.”

In June, the US, UK, EU, Mexico and Canada announced that they would form a group to investigate how to safely reopen international travel.

China orders Wuhan mass testing, Beijing restrictions as Covid delta spreads

Residents of the city of Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei are due to take nucleic acid tests for Covid-19 on August 3, 2021.

STR | AFP | Getty Images

China is facing a resurgence in major cities of Beijing to Wuhan, and authorities have mass tests and widespread travel restrictions in some areas.

Daily Covid-19 cases are on the rise again as the Delta variant spreads across the country.

China’s National Health Commission said it confirmed 96 Covid cases on Wednesday – 90 cases and more were reported for the third day in a row. Of the newly confirmed cases, 71 were transmitted locally, said the health commission.

Economists fear that strict government crackdown on movements could harm the economy – the only major economy that grew last year.

“China has already shown that it is ready to take tough measures to control Covid, and we have no doubt it will do so this time too,” said Robert Carnell, regional director of Asia-Pacific research at Dutch bank ING , in a note on Wednesday.

“The strict restrictions on movement and travel that already exist will likely produce the desired results. But the Delta variant is a particularly slippery little creature, and the concern for us and many others is how quickly this will happen and at” what the economy has cost in the meantime, “he added.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

When Covid-19 first surfaced in the country in late 2019, authorities put in place strict lockdowns and mass testing to control the nationwide outbreak.

Since then, the Chinese authorities have cracked down on all flare-ups of Covid infections. The recent proliferation of the more highly transmissible Covid Delta variant has once again prompted authorities to tighten containment measures across the country.

The state media agency Xinhua reported authorities have urged people to restrict travel and avoid gatherings, and to suspend some flights, trains and long-distance bus services.

The capital Beijing imposed strict entry and exit controls on Sunday and is said to be in a “critical stage” of epidemic control after cases rose for the first time in months in late July, Xinhua reported.

The city of Wuhan, where the corona virus first appeared, will test all of its residents for new Covid cases, the news agency said.

As of July 20, Wuhan had administered more than 17 million doses of Covid vaccines, and the vaccination rate for those 18-year-olds and above was 77.63%, according to the Wuhan City Health Commission.

“Slow patch” in China’s economy

China’s economic recovery has been mixed, with export-oriented sectors accounting for most of the growth, while domestic consumption has recovered more slowly.

The resurgence of Covid-19 infections and recent containment measures would delay a recovery in Chinese budget spending, said Sian Fenner, chief Asian economist at consultancy Oxford Economics.

“The geographic spread of the Delta variant is going to be a concern for the Chinese authorities. We have already seen that they have very little tolerance for, you know, even a relatively small flare-up,” she told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia” On Wednesday.

“We were hoping that this would actually improve service consumption through the increase in vaccination rates, but it looks like we’ll see a different kind of slow patch in the future and … the delayed recovery in household spending,” she added.

Fenner said she is sticking to her full-year growth forecast of 8.4% for China for now. That is slightly more than the International Monetary Fund’s forecast 8.1% growth in China.

– CNBC’s Weizhen Tan contributed to this report.

Singapore tightens restrictions once more as Covid circumstances rise

A Housing & Development Board (HDB) public housing estate in Singapore.

Wei Leng Tay | Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – The Singapore government said Tuesday it would tighten Covid-19 measures again as new cases continue to rise, making the country’s reopening plans difficult.

Measures include reintroducing a ban on eating and limiting the maximum number of people who can gather from 5 to 2.

Covid-19 cases in Singapore have increased in recent weeks. Several clusters have emerged around karaoke lounges, wet markets and hawker food centers, which raise concerns among the authorities. Health Department data showed There were 480 joint cases last week, a significant increase from the 19 reported in the past seven days.

Given the current transmission rate, the number of cases can be expected to rise sharply as more people are likely to be infected.

“This is very worrying as it can affect many people in our community across the island,” the Singapore Ministry of Health said in a statement.

“As we continue to conduct extensive testing for people at risk of infection, we can expect the number of cases to increase in the coming days,” she added.

Between July 12 and July 18, an average of 46 cases were detected in the community per day – the highest number of cases since April 2020, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

The latest restrictions are in effect from Thursday July 22nd to August 18th.

What are the latest measures?

Restrictions that will be re-imposed include:

  • The number of people who are allowed to gather will be reduced from 5 to a maximum of 2 people.
  • Households are only allowed to receive 2 different visitors each day, not counting grandparents who look after their grandchildren.
  • Eating out is prohibited, but restaurants, food courts, and hawker centers are allowed to offer take-away.
  • Exhausting sports and exercise activities indoors, which normally require the removal of masks, will be discontinued.
  • Large events such as live performances and wedding receptions are being scaled down and pre-event testing remains an essential measure.
  • Working from home remains the standard option for most businesses.

Tuesday’s measures followed when the city-state reported 172 new cases on Monday, including 163 locally transmitted infections. It was the highest number of daily reported cases since last August.

Most of these cases were linked to two large clusters – the Jurong Fishery Port, where fishmongers gather their stocks to sell in markets and food centers, and the so-called KTV lounges or karaoke bars – where customers interact with hostesses .

Jurong is fishing port closed until the end of the month to try to break the chain of transmission while the workers there were quarantined.

Singapore has banned nightclubs, bars and KTV lounges from operating since last year as activity on the premises is considered a high risk. However, some of these establishments continued to operate as food and beverage outlets. Some of them are suspected of violating the Covid-19 rules by providing hostess services.

UK lifts all remaining Covid restrictions regardless of instances surging

Two people embrace in the middle of the dance floor at Egg London nightclub in the early hours of July 19, 2021 in London, England. Starting Monday July 19 at 12:01 p.m., England will lift most of its remaining social restrictions from Covid-19, including wearing masks indoors and restrictions on group gatherings.

Rob Pinney | Getty Images News | Getty Images

England is taking a step into the unknown on Monday, lifting almost all remaining restrictions on public life at a time when coronavirus infections are high and high.

As of Monday, there will no longer be any restrictions on indoor gatherings. Nightclubs can reopen, the 1-meter social distancing rule will be lifted, and face masks will be largely voluntary, although some airlines and transport companies have announced that they will retain mask requirements.

In essence, most of the legal restrictions have now been lifted and replaced with an emphasis on ownership as infections continue to rise.

There was no mention of “Freedom Day,” as the Monday, July 19, earlier, when Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution as the country moved to “Step 4” of its roadmap to lift restrictions.

“Please, please, please be careful. Take the next step tomorrow with the right care and respect for other people and the risks that the disease continues to pose,” Johnson said in a statement released on Sunday evening Downing Street was released.

The lifting of restrictions had already been postponed from June 21st to allow more vaccinations amid a surge in cases caused by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The number of cases remains high across the UK with 316,691 reported cases in the past seven days, an increase of around 43% over the previous seven day period. Hospital stays are low but insidiously higher, with 4,313 people hospitalized in the last seven days. Show government data. 283 people have died in the past seven days.

The vast majority of infections currently affect younger age groups who are not yet or only partially vaccinated. Recent events such as the 2020 European Football Championship, which saw England fans gathering in pubs and bars across the country, have also been blamed for the rise in cases.

At the same time, the government is pushing ahead with vaccinations. To date, 87.9% of UK adults have received a first dose of a vaccine and 68.3% of UK adults have received both doses. Taking both doses of a vaccine greatly reduces the risk of infection and hospitalization from the coronavirus.

Continue reading: A headache? Runny nose? According to the study, these are among the new top 5 Covid symptoms

However, experts warn that hospital admissions could increase significantly in the coming weeks, and scientists have criticized plans to relax almost all Covid-19 restrictions. calls it unethical and dangerous for the whole planet. Others have defended the move, saying that staying incarcerated has many harmful consequences, from the economic and livelihood effects to mental health.

In a statement on Sunday evening, the UK government admitted that cases continued to rise, but noted that the link to hospital admissions and deaths from the vaccination program had been “significantly weakened” as all adults were asked to come forward for both doses of the vaccine.

Watch the world

Analysts say the world will be watching Britain with interest to see what happens.

Deutsche Bank research strategist Jim Reid stated Monday that “the world will be watching the British experiment with great interest. It could show a way back to normal or warn even heavily vaccinated countries that Covid will be a problem for a decent time. “

Before that symbolic day, new cases in the UK fell below 50,000 after two days yesterday (Sunday). However, the weekly growth rate is still strong. When you break down the numbers, the largest area of ​​growth over this period was men ages 15 to 40. It is the first time in the pandemic that there has been any notable gender segregation. It strongly suggests the impact of the millions of soccer fans watching the European Championship soccer final in various locations across the country. “

Continue reading: Wearing masks is becoming a new battlefield in England as Covid rules are relaxed

Kallum Pickering, senior economist at Berenberg Bank, told CNBC on Monday that the economic impact of the reopening was uncertain as consumer behavior could be affected by the reopening, with some consumers more nervous about the lifting of restrictions like wearing masks .

“I doubt we will see any recovery, but I think we will see continued growth in economic activity … but some of those uncertainties are certainly great. We need to look at some of the high-frequency data, ”mobility statistics, and the like, to see what the real impact of the uncertainty of opening and removing masks is actually keeping people away from the high street and into restaurants and supermarkets go, “he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.

Government defends reopening

Johnson, who is self-isolating after coming into contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is ill with Covid, defended the reopening on Monday.

“If we don’t do it now, we have to wonder when are we ever going to do it? This is the right moment,” Johnson said in a video statement.

“But we have to do it carefully. We have to remember that unfortunately this virus is still out there. The cases are increasing, we can see the extreme contagiousness of the Delta variant.”

Johnson said there was “immense comfort and satisfaction” that Covid vaccines “have severely weakened the link between infection and hospitalization, and between infection and serious illness and death.”

Continue reading: The Covid Delta variant “exploded” in Great Britain – and could be a blueprint for the USA

The government said it would continue to review all data. It said it will “strengthen vaccine defense” by shortening the dosing interval of Covid vaccines for all adults from 12 to 8 weeks, continuing to use its testing, tracking and isolation system, and maintaining border controls, including quarantine for all travel from a country on the red list and for countries on the yellow list, unless persons are double vaccinated.

“The data is continuously evaluated and contingency measures are maintained during times of higher risk if necessary, but restrictions are avoided where possible,” the government said.

Boris Johnson says England on observe to raise Covid restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on the Coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic during a virtual press conference at 10 Downing Street on March 18, 2021 in London, England.

Tolga Akmen – WPA Pool | Getty Images

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailed the final steps to relax UK lockdown rules on Monday, with a final decision to be taken on July 12th.

“If we cannot reopen our society in the next few weeks, if the summer and school holidays help us, we have to ask ourselves, when can we reopen?” Downing Street.

“Freedom Day” – or “Step 4” in the government’s long-term plan to ease restrictions – will take place on July 19, when the government’s “four tests” to ease Covid restrictions are met.

The tests include examining data to confirm that vaccine delivery is continuing successfully and that infection rates do not risk an increase in hospital admissions. These will be assessed on July 12th after a review of the latest data.

Johnson said Monday that there would be no limit to how many people can meet socially or where they can meet. He said the rules that required face masks would be lifted and people would no longer be instructed to work from home.

Any remaining stores that are currently closed, such as nightclubs, are allowed to reopen and the social distancing rules would also end.

Johnson reiterated that Covid will become a virus we learn to live with, as we do with the flu, admitting that reopening would likely result in more deaths.

“It has become increasingly clear that these vaccines are indeed successful in the majority of unvaccinated hospital admissions.”

The lifting of restrictions in England was previously slated for June 21, but was delayed as the highly transferable Delta variant spread across the UK

While infection rates have increased, hospitalizations and deaths have not increased, suggesting that coronavirus vaccines are helping to prevent serious infections.

The UK government has previously signaled reluctance to maintain restrictions longer than strictly necessary. This is despite some concerns among medical professionals and opposition politicians that the restrictions could be lifted too quickly if the variant spreads across the UK, Europe and beyond.

The UK’s Covid vaccination program was one of the fastest in the world, with 86% of the adult population now receiving a first dose of a vaccine and 63.8% two doses. Show government data.

China Eases Restrictions On Overseas Funding In Leisure Venues

Foreign investors are now allowed to build entertainment venues in China without investment restrictions or local partners, according to new legislative changes.

This opens the doors for future wholly-owned foreign companies Cinemas in the largest film market in the world. It could also be big news for U.S. entertainment companies looking to run theme parks in the country. Previous rules required them to band together to form joint ventures with local companies, as did Disney did to open its lucrative Shanghai Disneyland theme park, and as Universal had to do for its near-completed theme park near Beijing.

The changes come from the Chinese State Council, the highest government body in the country, via a “change and repeal of certain administrative regulations” and were announced on Monday through the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Previously, the regulations stipulated that foreign investors could only participate in business with event venues in which a Chinese party acted as the majority shareholder through joint ventures or cooperation with local partners. Now it simply says that “foreign investors can establish entertainment venues in China in accordance with the law.”

This change in wording seems to further formalize an earlier change in the law from 2019 that basically allowed foreign investors to own cinemas in full. The new wording also extends the directive to all entertainment venues, not just cinemas.

The latest development marks the final step in the slow opening of the exhibition sector to non-Chinese investors.

Before 2000, foreign investors were prohibited from investing in cinemas. The policy was relaxed from 2000 to 2003 when they were allowed to invest up to 49% equity in exhibition companies. This was followed by a trial period from 2004 to 2005, during which foreigners were allowed to invest up to 75% equity in seven pilot cities. However, this policy was abandoned and foreigners could not invest more than 49% again by 2019.

Despite the booming film market in China, investments in the country’s exhibition sector have so far proved unattractive to foreign actors, few of whom have dipped a toe in the water. The end of the 2004-05 experiment preceded the withdrawal of the Warner Brothers International Theaters from China, which had opened a handful of complexes.

Theaters that are wholly foreign-owned would still have to adhere to China’s strict censorship rules and would not be able to show content without prior approval from government agencies.

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Arcades, indoor leisure busy after COVID restrictions lifted – Boston 25 Information

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – That rainy weekend was actually a plus for indoor entertainment centers like arcades, which opened at full capacity for the first time since the pandemic began.

Fun and Games at Framingham could be at full capacity this weekend for the first time in over a year.

“This weekend was a big difference, lots of people came in, lots of people came in that we haven’t seen in a while,” said Michael Tolson, one of the managers.

Tolson said they followed CDC guidelines last year by slowly increasing their capacity limits since they reopened last fall. After Massachusetts lifts all COVID-19 restrictions, arcades and entertainment centers are finally seeing a much-needed boost to business.

“It’s great to have a lot more normality, the plexiglass has come off both counters, the games aren’t spread out like it’s back to normal,” said Collin Whitney, one of the managers.

The managers say you don’t have to wear a mask if you have been vaccinated, but you can still if you are more comfortable.

“Just walking around without a mask and knowing that most people are vaccinated is wonderful,” said Kelly Drummy, who took her daughter to Fun and Games on Sunday.

Many families breathed a sigh of relief and ventured into indoor activities for the first time in over a year on this rainy weekend.

“We are very happy to be out with a small child,” said Drummy.

As business returns to normal, some logs remain, such as: B. the provision of hand disinfection stations in the entire arcade, and the employees are still constantly disinfecting the machines.

“The pandemic has many benefits, makes us more cautious, allows us to make the games more hygienic and all,” said Whitney.

The managers say the best part about the changes this weekend is getting back to reconnecting with customers in person.

“You can actually see their smiles and that was one of the best things for us to see familiar faces smile and happy to be here,” said Tolson.

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