England’s hospitality and tourism sector to reopen from July 4

The Ritz hotel, currently closed to visitors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is pictured in central London on June 23, 2020. Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers in England will reopen from July 4, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Tuesday. (AFP)
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Updated 23 June 2020

England’s hospitality and tourism sector to reopen from July 4

  • Pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers in England will reopen

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced a further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England from July 4, as part of plans to kickstart hospitality, culture and tourism.
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen, as will hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering accommodation and campsites, alongside cinemas, museums and galleries.
Two separate households will also be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time since March.


“Today we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end,” he told parliament, calling the lifting of restrictions a return to a “sense of normality.”
“After the toughest restrictions in peacetime history, we’re now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and family and help businesses get back on their feet and get people back into work,” he told lawmakers.
Britain has been one of the worst-hit countries by the global pandemic with the official death toll among people who have tested positive for COVID-19 standing at almost 43,000.
The government hopes the relaxing of rules will help the economy begin to recover from the impact of the virus lockdown, with predictions of recession, heavy losses and job cuts.
But Johnson warned that the restrictions would be re-imposed if necessary.
“We will not hesitate to apply the brakes and reintroduce restrictions... if required.”

 


Duterte to skip Philippine trial of Russia virus vaccine

Updated 13 August 2020

Duterte to skip Philippine trial of Russia virus vaccine

  • Duterte had offered himself up as a guinea pig for the very first jab, expressing “huge trust” in the vaccine
  • The Philippines has logged the highest number of confirmed infections in Southeast Asia

MANILA: The Philippines will begin large-scale human testing of Russia’s coronavirus vaccine in October, but President Rodrigo Duterte will not receive the inoculation until regulators guarantee its safety, his spokesman said Thursday.
Duterte had offered himself up as a guinea pig for the very first jab, expressing “huge trust” in the vaccine, despite growing skepticism about its effectiveness.
But his spokesman Harry Roque said the president was scheduled to receive the vaccine no earlier than May 1 — weeks after the Russian-funded Phase 3 clinical trial in the archipelago is due to end in March.
The country’s Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the vaccine — developed by the Gamaleya research institute and the Russian defense ministry — in April.
“May 1 is when the PSG (presidential security group) may allow him, once all requisite tests have been finished,” Roque told reporters.
Moscow says it has developed the world’s first vaccine offering “sustainable immunity” against the coronavirus and is in the final stage of tests involving 2,000 people.
Roque said Philippine experts will review next month the results of Russia’s Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials before the Southeast Asian country starts its Phase 3 testing.
“We will do it simultaneously with Russia,” Roque said.
Philippine officials from the science and technology department met with Gamaleya on Wednesday to discuss the protocols for the trial of the vaccine, which is dubbed “Sputnik V” after the pioneering Soviet satellite of the 1950s.
The Philippines, which is struggling to contain the virus, has accepted Russia’s offer to participate in production of the vaccine.
Anna Lisa Ong-Lim, an infectious disease professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, said the government’s timeline to have a vaccine available by May was “very optimistic.”
The country is also set to start on August 17 clinical trials for the Japanese antiviral drug Avigan to treat coronavirus patients.
The Philippines has logged the highest number of confirmed infections in Southeast Asia with more than 147,500 cases and over 2,400 deaths.