Restrictions are dropping worldwide, but omicron’s subvariant leaves questions about the future of COVID

Here’s a look at some of today’s COVID-19 news:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scrapping the last domestic coronavirus restrictions in England, including the requirement for people with COVID-19 to self-isolate, even as he acknowledged Monday the potential for new and more deadly variants of the virus.

Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons that the country was “moving from government restrictions to personal responsibility” as part of a plan for treating COVID-19 like other transmissible illnesses such as flu.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday emergency powers are still needed despite police ending border blockades and the occupation of the nation’s capital by truckers and others angry over Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“The situation is still fragile, the state of emergency is still there,” Trudeau said.

Lawmakers in Parliament will vote Monday night whether to allow police to continue to use emergency powers. Opposition New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh said his party will support it, ensuring Trudeau should have enough votes.

But: The BA.2 virus — a subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant — isn’t just spreading faster than its distant cousin, it may also cause more severe disease and appears capable of thwarting some of the key weapons we have against Covid-19, new research suggests.

New lab experiments from Japan show that BA.2 may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older variants of Covid-19, including Delta.

And like Omicron, it appears to largely escape the immunity created by vaccines. A booster shot restores protection, making illness after infection about 74% less likely.

Check out more COVID-19-related headlines from today here: