Britons hugged their loved ones and streamed into pubs, gyms and other indoor venues on Monday as the country eased pandemic restrictions, but Asia faced more misery with new variants and a cyclone disrupting the fight against a Covid-19 wave ravaging India.AFP reports.
As the United States and Britain move away from harsh restrictions thanks to rapid immunisation campaigns, new strains have forced several countries in Asia to shut schools and impose travel bans, highlighting the persistent global threat posed by the pandemic.
With known global infections approaching 163 million and the rise of new variants complicating the fight, governments still pushed ahead with easing restrictions — a moving step for some.
“I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this… you can hug your loved ones again,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said as businesses reopened in what The Sun tabloid dubbed “Freedom Monday”
Across England, Wales and most of Scotland, people on Monday could once again grab a drink, a bite and dine inside pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Cinemas, museums and sports venues also opened their doors for the first time in months.
People were able to once again visit each other at home — and to head to Portugal, where the British are normally the largest tourist contingent.
“It’s nice to get away and be back here,” said Barry Thompson, a 63-year-old retired policeman from Manchester who landed in the southern town of Faro with his wife and son.We’re very excited.”
In another sign of life returning to normal in Europe, Disneyland Paris announced it would reopen on June 17.
But authorities have urged caution and warned that with new variants spreading, restrictions could be reintroduced.