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UK Lifts Covid-19 Restrictions despite Surge in New Cases
By Staff, Agencies
The British government on Monday lifted pandemic restrictions on daily life in England, scrapping all social distancing.
The step, however, was slammed by scientists and opposition parties as a dangerous leap into the unknown.
Starting midnight, clubs were able to reopen and other indoor venues allowed to run at full capacity, while legal mandates covering the wearing of masks and working from home were scrapped.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently in self-isolation after his health minister was infected, urged the public to remain prudent and for any laggards to join the two-thirds of UK adults who are now fully vaccinated.
He defended the reopening, dubbed "freedom day" by some media, despite scientists' grave misgivings after daily infection rates in Britain topped 50,000, straight behind Indonesia and Brazil.
Additionally, fully vaccinated residents returning from "amber list" destinations in Europe no longer have to quarantine, although in a last-minute policy shift, the government has kept the requirement in place for France.
Also staying in place are requirements to self-isolate after a close contact, which have forced millions off work or school in recent weeks, leading to industry warnings of severe economic disruption.
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