Shops, gyms, outdoor dining restart in Britain

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LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to “behave responsibly” as shops, gyms, hairdressers, restaurant patios and beer gardens reopen after months of lockdown.

Monday sees the easing of restrictions that have been in place in England since early January to suppress a surge in coronavirus infections linked to a more transmissible new variant of the virus.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said businesses were “excited and desperate” to welcome customers back.

Many people were planning outdoor meals and drinks, despite unseasonably cold weather that brought snow to London and many other areas.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are following their own, broadly similar plans to ease lockdown.

Britain has had Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak, with more than 127,000 confirmed deaths.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Muslims are navigating coronavirus regulations for their second Ramadan in the shadow of the pandemic

— China’s top disease control official said current vaccines offer low protection, mixing them is among strategies being considered to boost effectiveness

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