Monday is Freedom Day in England. The day got the nickname because all social restrictions such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing that were imposed in the fight against COVID-19 were lifted.
The lifting of restrictions comes amid a surge in COVID cases and hospital stays in England, mainly driven by the Delta variant of the virus.
People drink shortly after the reopening on the dance floor at The Piano Works in Farringdon in London, July 19, 2021.
Freedom Day is also happening as Sajid Javid, Britain’s health minister, is self-isolating for testing positive for COVID. The National Health Service notified UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak that they had been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID.
Individuals who have been notified of exposure by the NHS are expected to self-isolate. However, Johnson and Sunak expected to participate in a pilot program that would have allowed them to work on Downing Street, but decided against it after a public uproar.
“Although the test and trace pilot is quite restrictive and only allows essential government business,” Sunak wrote on Twitter, “I recognize that even feeling that the rules are not the same for everyone is wrong. For this purpose, I will isolate myself as usual and not take part in the pilot project. ”
In Thailand, protesters demonstrating against the government’s handling of the COVID outbreak clashed with police in the capital, Bangkok, on Sunday. Protests in the capital and elsewhere across the country contradicted a recent government ban on public gatherings of more than five people.
U.S. teen tennis sensation Coco Gauff has tested positive for COVID and will not be participating in the Tokyo Olympics. The 17-year-old athlete posted on Twitter: “It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympic Games, and I hope that there are still many opportunities for me to make this a reality in the future.” Whether Gauff was vaccinated was not clear at first. The Olympics were canceled last year, but the Olympic Committee’s decision to continue the Games this year has been heavily criticized as the world continues to grapple with the COVID pandemic.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, 190.4 million COVID cases and more than 4 million deaths from the virus were recorded worldwide as of early Monday. The center’s data shows that over 3.6 billion vaccines have been administered to date.