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UK's Johnson scraps COVID******
Tourists wearing masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus stand outside Windsor Castle on February 17.
British Prime Minister Boris onMonday said he would end all coronavirus restrictions in Englandincluding mandatory self-isolation for people with COVID-19 andfree testing, drawing skepticism from some scientists andpolitical opponents.
Johnson's "living with COVID" plan has sparked alarm that itis premature and will leave the country vulnerable to new viralvariants, but the government says it has provided more testingthan most other countries, and must now curb the cost.
The plan to ditch the remaining legal restrictions is apriority for many of Johnson's Conservative Party lawmakers,whose discontent over his scandal-ridden leadership hasthreatened his grip on power. Some critics think the plan isalso a bid to divert attention from those scandals.
Britain has reported 160,00 deaths from COVID-19, theseventh-highest death toll in the world.
As Europe retainssocial distancing and vaccine rules, Johnson is moving to repealany pandemic requirements that impinge on personal freedom,saying it is time the public took responsibility.
He will lean even more on the rollout of booster vaccines,with the government offering extra booster doses to the mostvulnerable, as well as other pharmaceuticals interventions suchas antiviral treatments.
"Restrictions pose a heavy toll on our economy, our society,our mental wellbeing and on the life chances of our children,and we do not need to pay that cost any longer," Johnson toldparliament.
"So let us learn to live with this virus and continueprotecting ourselves and others without restricting ourfreedoms."
Johnson said that the legal requirement to self-isolate forpeople who test positive for COVID-19 would be removed on February 24while free universal testing would end on April 1.
The devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and NorthernIreland have set their own COVID-19 restrictions, but the amountof money they have to spend on testing will flow from decisionsmade by the UK government.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was scathing onTwitter, writing: "To allow significant dismantling of thetesting infrastructure built up in last two years would beinexcusable negligence given ongoing risks."
'Scale this back'
Johnson said that some surveillance of the coronavirus wouldremain in place, allowing for a rapid response to new variants,which could be quickly scaled up.
But he cited the much-weakened link between COVID-19 casesand deaths due to vaccines, antivirals and the lower severity ofthe Omicron variant as informing his decision.
"It is only because we know Omicron is less severe, thattesting for Omicron on the colossal scale we have been doing ismuch less important and much less valuable in preventing seriousillness," Johnson said.
"This came at a vast cost... We must now scale this back."
Johnson said that symptomatic testing would remain availablefor at-risk groups and social care staff, and would work withretailers to allow anyone who wants to buy tests.
Britain has been unusual in providing free lateral flowtests to people who want to for months. In contrast, USPresident Joe Biden offered limited free rapid tests tohouseholds for the first time last month.
Leaders in Scotland and Wales had criticized Johnson's plansto reduce the availability of testing ahead of the announcement,while leader of the opposition Keir Starmer also said that theplan was ill-conceived.
"We can't turn off Britain's radar before the war is won.'Ignorance is bliss' is not a responsible approach to a deadlyvirus," Labour Party leader Starmer said.
新京报记者 王姝 编辑 姜慧梓
China's central bank conducts 100 bln yuan of reverse repos******
BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China's central bank Thursday injected 100 billion yuan (about 15.65 billion U.S. dollars) into the financial system via reverse repos.
The interest rate for the seven-day reverse repos was set at 2.2 percent, according to the People's Bank of China.
The move aims to offset the impacts of tax period and government bond issuance, and to keep liquidity in the banking system at a reasonably sufficient level, the central bank said.
A reverse repo is a process in which the central bank purchases securities from commercial banks through bidding, with an agreement to sell them back in the future. Enditem
Ludwig of Germany wins World Cup luge race******
BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Germany's Johannes Ludwig won the men's single race at the first luge World Cup of the 2021/22 season on Saturday.。
Ludwig took the gold with a two-run time of 1 minute, 54.597 seconds on the track which will be used for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.。
His German countryman Felix Loch finished second in 1:55.451, followed by another German slider Max Langenhan in 1:55.455. Enditem。