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France, Belgium Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

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COVID: Paris Lockdown As France Fears Third Wave

France and Belgium have both eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to allow for summer breaks.

French authorities say they will allow bars, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools to welcome guests indoors for the first time in seven months.

Belgium is also easing its rules to allow indoor dining at cafes and restaurants but with limited number of customers.

In France, restaurants and bars can now operate at 50% of their indoor capacity. Gyms and indoor swimming pools are also only allowed to admit half of their maximum capacity.

Overnight curfew will also be delayed by two hours, enabling people to stay out till 11 pm.  Workers can also now return to work at the discretion of employers concerning the number of staff to show up each day.

Fully vaccinated visitors from the European Union and other countries, including Australia, Israel, Lebanon and South Korea, can now visit france as long as they have completed the full course of an EU-approved vaccine (Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).

But fully vaccinated people from other areas, including the UK and the US, will still have to provide a negative test.

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World News

WHO Says Africa Is In Full-Blown Third COVID Wave

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Matshidiso Moeti

The World Health Organization says Africa is in full-blown third wave of COVID-19. Coronavirus cases have crossed the five million mark. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt have recorded the most virus cases on the continent.

W.H.O. figures show more than 136,000 persons have succumbed to the virus in different African countries.

Uganda and Namibia are already experiencing a deadly third wave, with dozens of fatalities recorded daily. The delta variant is in 14 African countries while the beta variant, first detected in South Africa, is in 25 countries.

At least seven African countries have run out of vaccines

WHO’s Africa regional director Matshidiso Moeti said Africa needs millions of more COVID-19 vaccine doses now to continue its vaccination campaigns. The world health body says there’s no clear timeline on when more vaccines will be available but there is an urgent need for them.

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Nigerian News

US Condemns Nigeria’s Twitter Ban

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US Condemns Nigeria's Twitter Ban

As the Twitter ban by the Nigerian government continues to get reactions from different countries across the world, the United States has on Thursday condemned the ban of the microblogging platform in the west African country.

Condemning the decision in a statement, the US Department of State’s Spokesman Ned Price said the order had no place in a democracy and contravened freedom of expression.

He said “freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.”

The US department said the American government “condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter. The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.”

The Nigerian government decision to suspend Twitter came after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed for violating its rules. But the federal government has said its decision to block the site is unrelated to the removal of the president’s tweet.

Amid the suspension, the government has vowed to prosecute those violating the ban as many Nigerians have continued to access Twitter using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

The U.S. had joined the European Union, Britain, Ireland and Canada last weekend in criticizing the Nigerian action.

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World News

Biden And Johnson Meet Ahead Of G7 Summit

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Joe Biden and Boris Johnson meet ahead of G7 Summit

United States President, Joe Biden is in the United Kingdom on his first travel abroad as American leader.  Biden will attend the G7 meeting in Cornwall during which he is expected to rally an alliance that has been rattled by the previous U.S. Administration.

Biden’s daunting agenda in Europe includes efforts to revive a wounded relationship, convincing European partners to go along with coordinated policies on Russia, China, global warming and the coronavirus.

The U.S. President also has a scheduled meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin – a meeting many experts believe is tricky.  But Biden says he is ready.

Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are on Thursday meeting ahead of the G7 summit.

The pair set to agree on an “Atlantic Charter” when they meet in Cornwall, southwestern England, on Thursday for their first face-to-face talks since Biden assumed office in January.

Biden and Johnson paused for a slightly chaotic call with the media before heading in to a private room for official talks.

The two leaders will also reportedly establish a task force to look at resuming UK-US travel, which has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and discuss how to provide vaccines to the world’s poorer nations.

Queen Elizabeth will meet US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle on Sunday, at the end of Biden’s visit to Britain.

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