People walking past a social distancing sign in London. Photo: Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

Pubs, restaurants and other businesses in England can resume business on July 4 after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that it would move to the third stage of its coronavirus reopening plan, per the BBC.

Why it matters: The U.K. government also reduced its two-meter social-distancing rule in England and will instead introduce a "one meter plus" rule as the lockdown eases.

  • Johnson, who contracted the virus in March, said people should try to remain two meters apart when possible.
  • The loosened restrictions will not yet apply to Scotland or Wales.

Between the lines: The government did away with the two-meter rule in part because the hospitality industry warned that keeping customers that distance apart would be impossible for many businesses, Politico reports.

What they're saying: Johnson said people are encouraged to use "mitigation" tactics, such as face coverings and not sitting face-to-face, when within two meters.

  • "Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks, remembering the more we open up, the more vigilant we need to be," he said.

By the numbers: The U.K. has reported more than 306,oo0 cases and 42,731 deaths from coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • The country is reporting 1,000 new cases a day on average, well below the estimated 100,000 at its peak at the end of March.

Go deeper: U.K. researchers say they've found life-saving coronavirus drug

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Updated Sep 25, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.

Coronavirus cases rise in 22 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Texas added a backlog of cases on Sept. 22, removing that from the 7-day average Texas' cases increased 28.3%; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The coronavirus is surging once again across the U.S., with cases rising in 22 states over the past week.

The big picture: There isn't one big event or sudden occurrence that explains this increase. We simply have never done a very good job containing the virus, despite losing 200,000 lives in just the past six months, and this is what that persistent failure looks like.

Where potential coronavirus vaccines stand in the U.S.

Table: Axios Visuals

Four vaccines for the novel coronavirus are now in late-stage testing in people in the United States.

Driving the news: Johnson & Johnson announced yesterday it began a phase 3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.