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Today’s coronavirus news: COVID-19 cases keep surging in Canada; UK leader to end England s coronavirus lockdown

Today’s coronavirus news: COVID-19 cases keep surging in Canada; UK leader to end England s coronavirus lockdown
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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:07 a.m.: Madrid’s ancient and emblematic Rastro flea market reopened Sunday after a contentious eight-month closure because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has walloped the Spanish capital.

With many major European flea markets still shut down, the Rastro’s return seems to be another example of Madrid’s bid to show that heavy coronavirus restrictions may not be necessary even among the latest surge of the virus and some sort of normality can resume with precautions.

6:58 a.m.: South Korea is imposing stricter social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area to fight a coronavirus resurgence, as the country registered more than 300 new cases for the fifth straight day.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Sunday that authorities have found 62 virus clusters in the past two weeks. He said the toughened distancing guidelines in the Seoul area will be enforced for two weeks starting Tuesday.

Under the rules, nightclubs and other high-risk entertainment facilities must shut down and late-night dining at restaurants will be banned. Customers won t be allowed to drink or eat inside coffee shops, internet cafes or fitness centres, while audiences at sports events will be limited to 10% of the stadium’s capacity.

6:28 a.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end an England-wide lockdown as scheduled on Dec. 2 and will announce a return to regional restrictions as statistics show that coronavirus infections have stabilized.

Johnson’s office also confirmed plans to begin a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program next month, assuming regulators approve a vaccine against the virus. The government also will increase mass testing in an effort to suppress the virus until vaccines can be rolled out.

Johnson’s office said late Saturday that the government plans to return to using a three-tiered system of localized restrictions in England, with areas facing different lockdown measures based on the severity of their outbreaks. More communities are expected to be placed in the two highest virus alert categories, it said.

The government put England under a four-week lockdown that started Nov. 5. The Cabinet is to discuss the plans Sunday, and the prime minister aims to give Parliament the details on Monday, according to the statement.

6:05 a.m.: U.S. health officials Saturday agreed to allow emergency use of a second antibody drug to help the immune system fight COVID-19, an experimental medicine that President Donald Trump was given when he was sickened last month.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drug to try to prevent hospitalization and worsening disease from developing in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.

The drug is given as a one-time treatment through an IV. The FDA allowed its use in adults and children 12 and over who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kilograms) and who are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of age or certain other medical conditions.
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