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Pubs, hairdressers set to reopen as UK eases virus lockdown

Millions of people in Britain will get their first chance in months for haircuts, casual shopping, and restaurant meals on Monday, as the government takes the next step on its lockdown-lifting road map.

Nationwide restrictions have been in place in England since early January, and similar rules in the other parts of the UK, to suppress a surge in coronavirus infections that swept the country late last year, linked to a more transmissible new variant first identified in southeast England.

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

Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have all fallen thanks to the lockdown, and a mass vaccination program that has given at least one dose to more than 60 percent of the adult population.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson and epidemiologists have urged caution, saying that many people remain unvaccinated and relaxing social distancing rules or allowing foreign holidays this summer could bring a new spike in infections.

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