Coronavirus Update – May 18: Europe cautiously reopens as Indian variant looms

Rynek Główny in Krakow, the largest medieval square of all European cities

Countries in Europe are moving cautiously toward normalcy, as governments lift restrictions in response to a drop in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the easing of restrictions “would take place in a gradual, cautious and guided manner” there, while UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a warning on the variant of the Indian coronavirus known as B. 1.617. “We must be humble in the face of this virus,” he told Parliament on Monday. Cases there remain stable and there are fears that the variant may delay a full reopening on the mainland and in the British Isles.

In Poland, bars and restaurants reopened over the weekend after months of closure and Britain started enjoying indoor dining on Monday. In France, alfresco dining on café terraces will begin on Wednesday with the reopening of cinemas and theaters, while Italy will adjust its night café from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time.

As of Tuesday morning, the world recorded more than 164.9 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 3.4 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks this information. In addition, more than 143.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since vaccinations began late last year, the world has administered more than 1.48 billion doses as of Tuesday morning, the equivalent of more than 19 doses per 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that on Tuesday 157.8 million people in the United States had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. About 59.8% of the population over 18 – around 154.5 million people – have received at least one first vaccination, of which 122.2 million people, or 47.4% of the same population, have received both doses. At the same time, 56.3% of the population over 12 years old, or 157.8 million people, received at least one vaccine, of which 122.2 million, or 44.2% of the same population, who received the vaccine. two doses. Overall, 37% of the population, or 122.9 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

Protests against hosting the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo continue. Doctors in the city called for the cancellation of the games on Tuesday, saying hospitals in the Japanese capital are already overwhelmed and “have little spare capacity.”

More Covid-19 patients are under 50, which is in stark contrast to the situation a year earlier. The change reflects the success of the immunization program that vaccinated 85% of Americans over 65, but it may also reflect pandemic fatigue, a situation in which people believe that because they are healthy, they are not. do not need to continue to take the appropriate precautions.

Finally, health officials in Germany have placed some 200 residents of an apartment complex in Mettmann, a town in Nordrhein-Westfalen, after a person there tested positive for the Indian variant of the coronavirus known as name of B.1.617.

Jonathan Spira contributed to the reporting of this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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