- England’s pubs, restaurants and hair salons reopen as lockdown eases further.
- U.K. scraps quarantine for arrivals from about 60 countries, excluding Canada, U.S.
- With cases spiking across the U.S., there’s concern Fourth of July parties will help spread coronavirus.
- Atlantic bubble opens, allowing travellers from within the four provinces to cross borders.
- India records its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases.
- Australian authorities lock down 9 public housing towers in Melbourne over outbreak.
The pints are being poured and the unkempt hairdos are being cut and styled as England embarks on its biggest lockdown easing yet this weekend.
In addition to the reopening of much of the hospitality sector on Saturday, including pubs and restaurants, for the first time in more than three months, couples can tie the knot and people can go see a movie at the cinema.
Museums and libraries have also reopened, but gyms, swimming pools and nail bars remain shut. Restrictions on travel and social contact have been eased — people from different households can now go into each other’s homes, for example.
And many of those despairing at what they see in the mirror can finally get their hair trimmed. In all cases, physical distancing rules have to be followed.
Stephanie Headley, the 35-year-old owner of a barber shop in Blaby in central England, was relieved to be back in business for the fist time since the full lockdown was announced on March 23.
Headley said she was a “little bit anxious” and that she has been inundated with booking appointments after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the latest easing of the lockdown last week.
“I can’t wait to see all the dodgy haircuts that have come out of quarantine,” she said.
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Globally, the total number of coronavirus cases has now exceeded 11 million, with more than 525,491 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. Besides the United States, with 2.7 million confirmed cases and more than 129,000 deaths, the world’s current hot spots include Brazil, Russia and India.
On Friday, Florida reported 9,488 new confirmed cases and 67 deaths, a day after setting a new daily record with more than 10,000 cases.
Ten Democratic legislators urged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday to require Floridians to wear masks. They want the governor to make masks mandatory in public spaces, indoors and outdoors, when physical distancing isn’t possible. The Republican governor has resisted those calls.
The U.S. headed into the holiday weekend with many parades cancelled, beaches and bars closed and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans’ self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.
With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, some governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.
WATCH | U.S. records biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases:
Beaches that had been open for the traditional start of summer over Memorial Day weekend will be off-limits in many places this time, including South Florida, Southern California and the Texas Gulf Coast.
The U.S. set another record on Friday with 52,300 newly reported coronavirus cases, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have been hit especially hard.
Arizona has reached new peaks in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, indicating the state is intensifying as a coronavirus hot spot. State health officials say the capacity of intensive care units is at an all-time high of 91 per cent. The state reported Friday 4,433 new confirmed cases and 31 deaths. Its total during the pandemic stands at 91,858 cases and 1,788 deaths.
In California, the holiday beach closures began Friday from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were to close Saturday and Sunday, while San Diego did not plan any shutdowns. Many beaches in Northern California were open but parking was closed at some to reduce the potential for crowding.
In South Dakota, there were fireworks and a speech to supporters by President Donald Trump with Mount Rushmore as the backdrop. The U.S. president flew across the country to gather a big crowd of supporters, most of them maskless and all of them flouting public health guidelines that recommend not gathering in large groups.
Back in Washington, D.C., Americans were invited to see a fireworks display over the National Mall to mark Independence Day on Saturday. Up to 300,000 face masks will be given away, but people won’t be required to wear them.
The big party will go on over the objections of Washington’s mayor.
“Ask yourself, do you need to be there? Ask yourself, can you anticipate or know who all is going to be around you? If you go downtown, do you know if you’re going to be able to socially distance?” Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
What’s happening with COVID-19 in Canada
As of 7:45 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 105,091 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 68,693 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,712.
The Atlantic bubble started Friday, allowing travellers from within the four provinces to cross borders without having to self-isolate for 14 days. Each province has its own set of rules for visitors.
Proof of residency screening — showing a driver’s licence or health card — will be maintained at points of entry.
Visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four jurisdictions. Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces who have self-isolated for 14 days may travel within the region, but not to Newfoundland and Labrador, said P.E.I. Premier Dennis King.
As of Friday, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the only Atlantic provinces with active cases, both currently having three, with N.S. recording two new cases this week.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
In the U.K., the easing of a lot more lockdown rules will only apply to England as the devolved nations in the United Kingdom — Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland — have been setting their own timetables for easing lockdown restrictions.
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Pub-goers will find the atmosphere rather different from the usual Saturday night. Numbers will be limited, no one will be allowed to stand at the bar and there will be no live music. Patrons will also have to give their details to allow tracers to identify them if anyone later tests positive. Bars will also have to keep a record of customers in case of a local outbreak.
In another relaxation of lockdown rules, two households can now meet indoors as long as social distancing is maintained, and overnight stays are allowed.
Neither Canada nor the United States is on a newly released U.K. government list of countries whose residents won’t have to self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Britain.
The U.K. government unveiled the list on Friday. It includes almost 60 countries deemed “lower risk” for the coronavirus, including France, Spain, Germany and Italy.
Travellers won’t have to go into isolation if they didn’t visit any other country or territory in the preceding two weeks before they arrive in Britain.The quarantine exemptions will start on July 10.
While Canada is not on the list, the U.K. said that beginning July 4, Canada will be exempt from its Foreign Office advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks, the U.K. government said on its travel advisory website.
In Germany, animal rights activists on Saturday attempted to block access to a slaughterhouse at the centre of a large coronavirus outbreak.
The slaughterhouse, owned by the Tonnies Group, has been linked to more than 1,000 coronavirus cases in the region, triggering a partial lockdown of two counties.
Police confirmed that about 20 people were protesting outside the entrance to the site. Animal rights activists and labour unions have criticized conditions for animals and workers at the plant, one of the country’s biggest.
Russia on Saturday reported 6,632 new cases of coronavirus, raising the nationwide tally of infections to 674,515.
Authorities say 168 people have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 10,027.
Indonesia reported 1,447 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said, taking the Southeast Asian nation’s tally to 62,142, while 53 more deaths took its toll to 3,089.
India on Saturday recorded its highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases, with 22,771 people testing positive in the past 24 hours.
The country has now confirmed 648,315 cases — fourth in the world behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia. It also has reported 18,655 deaths from the virus. Of the 442 deaths in the past 24 hours, 198 were in Maharashtra state.
Australia’s Victoria state recorded 108 new coronavirus cases Saturday, forcing authorities to lock down nine public housing towers and three more Melbourne suburbs.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said 3,000 people in the housing towers would go into “hard lockdown,” meaning “there will be no one allowed in … and no one allowed out.”
Residents in the Flemington and Kensington housing units will receive deliveries of food and medicine, along with alcohol support.
The suburbs of Kensington, Flemington and North Melbourne will join 36 others in being subject to Stage 3 coronavirus restrictions. Residents can only leave their homes for food or essential supplies, medical care or care-giving, exercise or for work or education.
After a recent flareup, Victoria has 509 active cases of coronavirus with 25 people hospitalized, including three in intensive care.