UK COVID-19 cases and deaths rise ahead of scheduled lockdown
The UK has reported its biggest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in nearly four months as authorities in France and the Philippines relax external restrictions on face covers.
British government figures showed 11,007 new infections on Thursday, up from 9,055 the day before, the biggest increase since February 19.
The number of new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test doubled from nine to 19 on Wednesday, the highest daily total since May 11 and one bringing the total number of deaths on that measure to 127 945.
The UK has suffered the continent’s highest official death toll from the disease, although per capita deaths are highest in Italy and much of eastern Europe.
More than 80% of UK adults have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 58% have received two doses, one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
But the spread of the more infectious Delta variant of the disease, first identified in India, prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday to postpone a planned easing of distancing rules that was due by June 21.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 in the past week has increased by 34% from the previous week.
Mask restrictions relaxed in France
Some people in the French capital happily ditched their masks on Thursday after the government announced that precaution against the coronavirus pandemic would no longer be mandatory outside.
But the jubilation was tempered by the knowledge that the virus was still circulating and that some security measures would still be in effect for the weeks to come.
“It’s a small liberation,” said Benjamin Grolleau, a Parisian who works in marketing, to no longer have to wear a mask outside.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Wednesday that the mandatory wearing of masks outdoors would be abolished, citing advice from public health experts and a decrease in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.
But masks should still be worn in most workplaces, shops, on public transport and in outdoor areas where large numbers of people are gathered such as in stadiums.
Repayments in the Philippines
The Philippine president has agreed to ease pandemic regulations requiring people to wear face shields over masks in most public spaces, but health officials say they will appeal the decision as cases of the virus remain high in many areas.
The Philippines has made plastic face coverings mandatory since December in most public spaces outside the home, including shopping malls, transport terminals and places of worship, as additional protection against harm. infections.
But compliance has been spotty and naysayers have questioned its necessity, claiming plastic screens dangerously obscure vision when they get wet.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to require face shields only in hospitals and allowed him and other senators to remove their face shields during a meeting Wednesday evening.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has said he will appeal.
An interagency body responsible for the pandemic is responsible for taking stock and informing the president of his position.
An alarming rise in coronavirus infections has started to ease in Manila and outlying areas.
Daily cases remain high and lockdowns have been reimposed in several provinces which have reported spikes in cases.