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People walking in London without face masks on July 19. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Rising new cases and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's journey back into quarantine dampened England's "freedom day" on Monday, when the country lifted most of its remaining coronavirus-related restrictions.

Why it matters: Face masks and capacity limits are no longer allowed in England, freeing up people to attend large events again, though scientists have warned that it could be dangerous to fully reopen when infections are increasing, according to AP.

  • But those concerns didn't stop thousands of people from flooding to nightclubs and other events early Monday morning.

By the numbers: The United Kingdom reported more than 47,000 new cases on Sunday and over 54,000 on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • Yes, but: Hospitalizations and deaths from the virus are far below their peaks in January, and close to 40 million people in the U.K. have been fully vaccinated against the virus as of Saturday.

What they're saying: Johnson, who reluctantly went into isolation after being exposed to COVID-19 through Health Secretary Sajid Javid, asked for “prudence and respect for other people and the risks that the disease continues to present" in a Twitter video on Monday.

  • More than 1,200 scientists signed a letter criticizing the government's decision to reopen as "the third wave of the pandemic takes hold across England," warning that it increases the risk of a vaccine-resistant variants developing.

The big picture: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not fully reopened and are taking a more cautious approach, according to NBC News.

Go deeper

Sep 21, 2021 - Health

D.C. school employees required to get vaccinated

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images

All D.C. school and daycare employees — public, private, and charter — must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1 with no option to test out, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced today.

  • Student athletes over the age of 12 will also be required to get vaccinated in order to participate in after-school programs, the mandate says. 
Sep 22, 2021 - Health

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.