Eng­land to ease curbs from July 4

Nearly 5mn peo­ple re­cover glob­ally; Trump fears US deaths may top 150k

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - SPOTLIGHT - HT Correspond­ent and Agen­cies letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LON­DON/ WASH­ING­TON: UK Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son on Tues­day an­nounced a re­duc­tion of the two-me­tre so­cial dis­tanc­ing rule im­posed dur­ing the Covid-19 lock­down, al­low­ing restau­rants, mu­se­ums, pubs and gal­leries to re­open with some curbs from July 4.

The re­lax­ation ap­plies only to Eng­land. Scot­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land are all fol­low­ing slightly dif­fer­ent mea­sures.

“To­day, we can say that our long na­tional hi­ber­na­tion is be­gin­ning to come to an end and life is re­turn­ing to our shops, streets and homes and a new, but cau­tious, op­ti­mism is pal­pa­ble,” John­son told par­lia­ment, adding that “cau­tion will re­main our watch­word”.

John­son, how­ever, dashed hopes of restart­ing the crick­et­ing sea­son. “The prob­lem with cricket, as ev­ery­one un­der­stands, is that the ball is a nat­u­ral vec­tor of dis­ease - po­ten­tially, at any rate... At the mo­ment, we’re still work­ing on ways to make cricket more Covid-se­cure but we can’t change the guid­ance yet.”

From July 4, mil­lions of peo­ple in Bri­tain will be able to go to the pub, visit a movie the­atre, get a hair­cut or at­tend a reli­gious ser­vice, but will have to wait to see a con­cert, get a tat­too or go to the gym. Places of wor­ship can hold ser­vices, but choirs and con­gre­ga­tions won’t be per­mit­ted to sing since the virus can spread through open mouths. Live mu­sic and the­atre per­for­mances are re­main­ing off-lim­its. In­door gyms, pools, spas and tat­too par­lours will also stay shut.

The coro­n­avirus pan­demic has claimed more than 473,000 lives around the world and in­fected over 9 mil­lion peo­ple, while nearly 5 mil­lion peo­ple have re­cov­ered from the ill­ness.

Re­searchers in South Africa, mean­while, said the first Covid-19 vac­cine trial on the African con­ti­nent will start on Wed­nes­day. Cases in South Africa had crossed 100,000, al­most one-third of the in­fec­tions on the con­ti­nent. The South Africa vac­cine trial aims to en­rol 2,000 par­tic­i­pants. The first are to get vac­ci­nated this week in Gaut­eng prov­ince.

In the US, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said the death toll from the pan­demic in the coun­try could top 150,000.

“It could get up to 150,000, it could go be­yond that. But we would have lost two mil­lion to four mil­lion lives (with­out mit­i­ga­tion),” he said in an in­ter­view. The US death toll from the dis­ease has topped 120,000.


The UceLi Quar­tet per­form for an au­di­ence made of plants dur­ing a con­cert that will be later streamed to mark the reopen­ing of the Liceu Grand The­atre in Barcelona, Spain.

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