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UK holds its first full music festival since start of pandemic

Written by The Frontier Post

Monitoring Desk

Metal fans are camping and moshing once more as the UK holds its first full music festival. Elsewhere, clashes broke out in Germany and France as police moved to break up late-night parties. Follow DW for the latest.

Heavy metal fans in the UK are once again singing, camping and moshing together, as Britain holds its first full music festival since the pandemic began.

The three-day Download festival is one of several events being held in the UK to test how to safely resume mass gatherings without sparking a COVID-19 outbreak.

Around 10,000 metal fans are taking part in the weekend event at Donington Park in England. Prior to the pandemic, the festival saw 10 times the number of attendees.

Participants underwent COVID-19 tests before entering, but do not have to socially distance or wear masks at the festival.

The event’s promoter Andy Copping said there was a “real sense of euphoria” among attendees. 

The event will run through Sunday and comes as the UK battles a renewed rise in cases that have been driven by the coronavirus delta variant.

Here’s a roundup of the major coronavirus-related stories from around the world.

Europe

Police in Germany broke up a huge party in a Hamburg city park in the early hours of Saturday due to the non-observance of social distancing rules.

The large crowd of about 4,000 had gathered outside to escape the unseasonably hot weather. Germany’s COVID seven-day incidence rate hit 9.3 cases per 100,000 people on Saturday. It was the first time the rate has fallen below 10 since September.

After police failed to persuade those gathered in large groups to leave, they decided to clear the area, prompting some revelers to hurl bottles at officers.

It was the second time in a month that police have cleared a park in the northern German city.

A crowd gathered at a park in Hamburg
Germany is experiencing a June heat wave with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit)

In France, fierce clashes also broke out between partygoers and police when authorities tried to break up an illegal rave, resulting in several injuries.

The hours-long violence erupted after about 1,500 revelers defied COVID restrictions Friday night in the small town of Redon, in Brittany.

After police intervened, the situation soon deteriorated, with people throwing Molotov cocktails, boule balls and rocks at the security forces, local prefect Emmanuel Berthier said.

The clashes lasted more than seven hours before the situation calmed by Saturday morning.

French police at the scene of the illegal rave party in Redon, Brittany
Clashes broke out between partygoers and police in France when authorities tried to break up an illegal rave party

The leaders of Germany and France have called for vigilance to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant that this week prompted the UK to delay the planned relaxation of pandemic restrictions in England.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while Germany has very low numbers of new COVID-19 infections at present, the “aggressive” delta variant could lead to a rise in new cases.

“We can’t pretend that corona is over,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

French President Emmanuel Macron said it was important to be vigilant about the new variant, adding that the European Union would discuss at an upcoming summit how to better harmonize travel restrictions during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for infectious disease control and prevention said the country saw 1,108 new COVID-19 cases and 99 deaths in the past 24 hours. That is 803 fewer cases than one week ago.

Asia

Taiwan is set to receive around 2.5 million vaccine doses from the United States, officials announced on Saturday.

The shipment Moderna vaccine doses will arrive on Sunday and includes three times the number of doses than were pledged by the US lawmakers at the beginning of June.

Taiwan is currently battling a spike in domestic cases and has been struggling to secure enough vaccine doses for its 23.6 million population.

The move also comes as the US seeks to boost its own “vaccine diplomacy” in the region, in competition with China. Beijing has repeatedly offered to send its own COVID shots to Taiwan, but Taipei has voiced concerns about their safety.

Medical workers prepare a syringe in Taipei, Taiwan

The head of the COVID-19 task force in India, Dr. Vinod K. Paul, told The Associated Press that India wants to resume exporting vaccines but cannot until domestic needs are met.

“Once our immediate need of vaccinating a significant proportion of Indian people is achieved and vaccine stockpiles are visible from multiple sources, we would then like to play the role of serving others and providing vaccines to them,” Paul said.

India exported vaccines to more than 90 countries in January, but exports stopped in April when infections spiked in India. The halt on exports also affected the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, which was the main supplier to the UN’s COVAX program.

Africa

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced new measures barring movement and certain businesses from operating due to a spike in cases amid a vaccine shortage.

All private and public transportation has been banned between districts. The shops in downtown Kampala have been ordered closed and a nighttime curfew will go into effect. The measures will last for six weeks.

Americas

Authorities in the Mexican state of Baja California, which borders the US, said they will include migrants in the new COVID-19 vaccination plan for border cities.

The state began vaccinating all adults over the age of 18 this week. The vaccination push in northern Mexico relies on over a million Johnson & Johnson vaccines donated by the US. The border vaccination initiative will begin in Baja California, home to one of the busiest international land border crossings in the world.

The Richmond laboratory in Argentina said it has produced nearly 500,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The vaccines will now wait for approval from the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute for their release, said Richmond on Twitter.

Montreal Canadiens interim coach Dominique Ducharme has tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss Game 3 of the National Hockey League (NHL) semifinals against the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

The NHL said Ducharme tested positive nine days after receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. No other Canadiens or Golden Knights have tested positive. The Canadiens won the game in overtime.

Courtesy: DW

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