WHO Says Virus Strain In India A 'variant Of Concern' As Europe Eases Curbs
Muhammad Irfan 1 month ago Mon 10th May 2021 | 11:20 PM
Geneva, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th May, 2021 ) :Schools and stores reopened in parts of Europe on Monday, easing out of months of Covid-19 lockdowns, but the devastating outbreak raged on across the sub-continent and health experts declared the virus mutation in India a "variant of concern".
But rapid vaccination programmes have allowed a number of wealthy nations to start taking steps towards normality.
Ireland on Monday lifted domestic travel restrictions and began a phased reopening of non-essential retailers, while Greece opened nursery, elementary and middle schools ahead of kicking off the tourist season from May 14.
The latest easing of restrictions came as England reported no daily virus deaths for the first time in over a year following a successful vaccination campaign - Act 'responsibly' - Spain, which at the weekend lifted a six-month state of emergency and allowed travel between regions, sounded a note of caution after joyful crowds celebrated in the streets mask-less and without observing social distancing.
"The end of the state of emergency does not mean the end of restrictions. Far from it. The virus threat still exists," Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo wrote in El Pais, urging Spaniards to behave "responsibly." Cyprus on Monday exited a third partial lockdown with a new coronavirus "safety pass" system to allow people to move freely.
Berlin also opened access to the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to all adults on Monday, lifting a priority system.
Meanwhile, German firm BionTech, which developed a vaccine with US pharma giant Pfizer, announced a $200 million joint venture with China's Shanghai Fosum Pharmaceutical to produce up to one billion jabs a year and said it was building its own Southeast Asia manufacturing site in Singapore.
The devastating wave has overwhelmed India's healthcare system, and experts have said official figures for cases and fatalities are much lower than the actual numbers.
And China plans to set up a "separation line" on the summit of Mount Everest -- which straddles the China-Nepal border -- to avoid infections by climbers from Nepal, where dozens have been taken ill at base camp, state media reported.
"It's weird running in a stadium with no fans," US sprinter Justin Gatlin said after winning the men's 100m.
Yet International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach was forced to postpone a visit to Japan, organisers said Monday, after a coronavirus state of emergency was extended less than three months before the Tokyo Games.