Britain takes another small step outside of lockdown as a new wave of the virus floods its European neighbors. As UK coronavirus vaccination rates surpass those in European Union countries, Prime Minister Boris Johnson softens the stark ‘stay at home’ message that has cut back on daily life – and kept the virus down under control – for almost three months.
From Monday it will be replaced in England by a message to stay local. People will be allowed to gather in outdoor groups of six and will be able to resume outdoor sports such as basketball, tennis and golf.
The rest of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are taking broadly similar action. In Wales, thousands of people spilled onto beaches and beauty spots on Saturday after authorities lifted travel restrictions in place since December.
As many European countries witness another outbreak of the pandemic, Britain is counting on a rapid mass vaccination program to help end the lockdown. Almost 30 million people, or 56% of all adults, have so far received a first dose of the vaccine.
Britain is confident that second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered on time without mixing the type of vaccine, Culture Minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday amid concerns over slowing supplies .
The government warned earlier this month that its vaccination schedule would slow down in April in part due to a delay in a shipment from the Indian Serum Institute.
The European Union has also threatened to block vaccine shipments to countries like the UK where vaccination rates are higher.
“We have kept in mind that we have to get that second refill, so we are confident that we will be able to deliver it,” he told the BBC. Spectacle d’Andrew Marr.
“We are convinced that this will not require mixing the vaccines. ”
The UK has recorded more than 126,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest death toll in Europe.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 6:30 a.m. ET, Canada had reported 961,088 cases of COVID-19, including 42,025 cases considered active. A CBC News death tally stood at 22,852.
Canada’s public health official warned on Saturday that current health orders are not enough to stop the rapid growth of COVID-19 as provinces move forward with plans to reopen their economies.
Longer-term forecast models predict a resurgence of COVID-19 infections unless public health measures are improved and strictly followed, Dr Theresa Tam said in a written statement.
Tam said public health orders across Canada need to be stronger, tighter and maintained long enough to control the rise of the variants of concern. High infection rates in the most populous provinces are pushing up the country’s average daily number of cases, she said.
Alberta reported 688 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death on Saturday.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw said 207 of Saturday’s infections were variants of concern and nearly 25% of active COVID-19 cases in Alberta were variants.
In Saskatchewan, the opposition NDP and an organization representing teachers in the province are calling for a faster implementation of rapid tests in schools.
NDP Education Critic Carla Beck noted that some tests were already ‘at the gates’ of some Saskatchewan schools, but there was still confusion over things like forms. authorization and the procedures for administering them.
WATCH | How businesses and schools are using rapid COVID-19 tests:
Manitoba recorded 57 more cases of COVID-19 and one death on Saturday.
The province also says it has now administered more than 163,000 doses of the vaccine and that more than 10 percent of residents aged 18 and over have received a vaccine.
Ontario has recorded 2,453 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day total in more than two months. The province also reported 16 more deaths.
Saturday’s daily case count comes before the province moves the Hamilton and Eastern Ontario Health Unit to smaller areas of its color-coded reopening frame on Monday. Additionally, five regions of the province’s gray lockdown will see some restrictions relaxed on Monday and later in April.
WATCH | Is Ontario Ending Lockdowns Against COVID-19 Too Soon ?:
Québec confirmed 1,009 new cases and eight deaths. This is the first time in a month and a half that the province has seen more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.
New Brunswick reported 12 new cases on Saturday, all in the Edmundston area.
The northwest of the province remains subject to tightened restrictions following a peak in cases of variants. The area was moved from yellow to red for a four-day “breaker” on Thursday.
Prince Edward Island will open its first mass vaccination clinics on Monday.
The Charlottetown and Summerside clinics are for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, as opposed to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is distributed in pharmacies to young Islanders who need to work with the public.
New Scotland confirmed five new cases, all in the central health zone. The new cases are close contacts of previously reported cases, including a probable case reported Friday at Sackville Heights Junior High in Lower Sackville.
In a press release, Prime Minister Iain Rankin said a mobile testing unit will be set up in the Sackville area on Saturday and Sunday.
Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new infections. Beginning at midnight Saturday, the entire province will move to Alert Level 2, which will allow households to maintain a “stable 20” group of consistent contacts.
What is happening in the world
As of Sunday morning, more than 126.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which operates a tool for tracking coronavirus cases. The global death toll stood at over 2.7 million.
In the AmericasThe Mexican government recognizes that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is now over 321,000. This is nearly 60 percent more than the official government-confirmed number of 201,429. Mexico is doing little tests, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without being tested. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “additional deaths” and review death certificates.
The government quietly released such a report, indicating that there were 294,287 COVID-19-related deaths from the start of the pandemic until February 14. Since February 15, there have been 26,772 additional deaths confirmed by testing.
In L’Europe Ukraine is grappling with a spike in COVID-19 infections. A record number of Ukrainians have been taken to hospital with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health on Sunday. Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Facebook that 5,052 people had been hospitalized in the past day. The minister linked the worsening situation to the spread of the variant of the coronavirus found for the first time in Britain, which was detected in Ukraine at the end of February, against a background of slow vaccination.
In France, a group of intensive care doctors said the surge in coronavirus infections could soon overwhelm their ability to treat the sick in Paris hospitals, possibly forcing them to choose which patients to treat. The warning of “catastrophic medicine” was pronounced Sunday in a newspaper opinion article signed by 41 doctors in Ile-de-France. Published by the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, it comes as President Emmanuel Macron has vigorously defended his decision not to completely close France as he did last year. Instead, Macron’s government since January has imposed an overnight curfew across the country and followed it with a series of other restrictions.
In AfricaKenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has restricted movement in the capital Nairobi and four other counties, with infections reaching record levels in East Africa’s richest economy.
In AsiaPakistani Planning and Development Minister Asada Umar said failure to comply with precautionary measures had led to a sudden and rapid increase in the country, and he warned against strict actions if people did not are not following the guidelines to counter the spread of the virus.