Prince Philip will lie in rest at Windsor Castle before a funeral in St. George’s Chapel.

The death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, at 99 on Friday came at the end of a year marked by mourning, with 150,000 lives lost to Covid-19 in Britain.

Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip had died peacefully, and he was vaccinated against the coronavirus early this year, along with the queen.

Yet his death is likely to take on a new meaning in the middle of a pandemic, and to raise many questions: What will the funeral look like at a time of social distancing measures? With global travel restrictions in place, when will his grandson Prince Harry be able return from the United States with his wife, Meghan?

And with families across Britain unable to hold typical funerals for loved ones lost to Covid-19, how will the country’s most famous family mourn one of their own?

discharged last month. Buckingham Palace said that his hospitalization was not related to the coronavirus.

But the privileges of royalty did not grant the family immunity from the virus.

Prince Charles — Prince Philip’s and Queen Elizabeth’s elder son and the heir to the throne — tested positive for the virus last year, as did Prince William, their grandson.

The queen has encouraged people in the country to be vaccinated. “Once you’ve had the vaccine, you have a feeling of, you know, you’re protected,” she said in a public call with health officials.

Britain is slowly emerging from a stringent national lockdown of recent months, with outdoor spaces in pubs and restaurants scheduled to reopen on Monday, as well as nonessential shops, gyms and hair salons. But many bereaved families of those lost to Covid-19 have said that as the country moves to brighter days, the staggering deaths of 150,000 people should not be forgotten.

View Source

Hong Kong residents stranded in Britain meet frustration as they try to return.

The Hong Kong government said last month that it would allow hundreds of residents who have been stranded in Britain by virus-related travel restrictions to return on two special flights.

But when those residents went to book seats on flights, the website for Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, crashed. The snafu on Thursday was the latest chapter in a bureaucratic saga that has left them feeling angry, confused and exasperated.

The Hong Kong government suspended flights from Britain in December as a coronavirus variant spread through that country. It also barred anyone who had spent more than two hours there or in other “extremely high-risk” places in the previous 21 days from boarding a direct flight to the Chinese territory.

Those measures, which remain in effect, also apply to inbound travelers who have recently been to Brazil, Ireland or South Africa. But last week Hong Kong said that it would arrange two special return flights from London on Cathay Pacific in late April. It cited Britain’s declining caseload and “satisfactory vaccination progress” as reasons for the policy shift.

reported last week that the travel ban had stranded more than 600 Hong Kong residents in Britain. Mr. Bux said on Friday that some of them had been unable to book seats on the special flights.

It was unclear whether additional flights would be offered, or why officials in Hong Kong, where the borders have been closed to nonresidents for more than a year, waited more than three months to schedule the two flights. A spokeswoman for the Immigration Department referred questions on Friday to the Food and Health Bureau, which declined to comment.

Mr. Bux said he could sympathize with the stranded travelers because he, too, had been stranded by the December ban while visiting family in Liverpool. He said he was among the 200 to 300 Hong Kong residents who had managed to make it home from Britain after spending a 21-day “wash out” period in a third country like Thailand, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates.

mandatory three-week hotel quarantine, one of the world’s longest. Some scientists have questioned whether that policy is too strict because the coronavirus is widely considered to have a 14-day incubation period.

“After my departure from the U.K., I needed 42 days to resume my normal life in Hong Kong,” he said. “It’s a really long period.”

View Source

The struggle against vaccine hesitancy comes to Mississippi.

When it comes to getting a coronavirus vaccine, Mississippi residents have an abundance of options. On Thursday, there were more than 73,000 slots to be had on the state’s scheduling website, up from 68,000 on Tuesday.

In some ways, that growing availability of appointments is something to celebrate: It reflects the mounting supplies that have prompted states across the country to open up eligibility to anyone over 16. But public health experts say it also exposes something more worrisome: the large number of people who are reluctant to be inoculated.

“It’s time to do the heavy lifting needed to overcome the hesitancy we’re encountering,” said Dr. Obie McNair, an internal medicine practitioner in Jackson, the state capital.

Although access remains a problem in rural Mississippi, experts say that the state — which three weeks ago became one of the first to open eligibility to all adults — may be a harbinger of what much of the country will confront in the coming weeks as increasing supplies enable most Americans who want the vaccine to easily make appointments.

in one recent survey indicated a lower willingness to be vaccinated than Hispanic or white people.

The hesitancy has national implications. Experts say that 70 to 90 percent of people in the United States must be vaccinated for the country to reach herd immunity, the point at which the virus can no longer spread through the population.

In Mississippi, a quarter of all residents have received at least one vaccine dose, compared with the nationwide average of 33 percent, according to state data. Other Southern states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Tennessee, have similarly low rates of vaccination.

Some other heavily Republican states are also finding themselves with surfeits of doses. Officials in Oklahoma, which has delivered at least one dose to 34 percent of its residents, said on Thursday that they would open up eligibility to out-of-state residents. In recent weeks, Republican governors in Ohio and Georgia voiced concern about lackluster vaccine demand among their residents.

Tim Callaghan, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health and an expert on vaccine skepticism, said that more research was needed to determine the reasons behind Mississippi’s slackening vaccine demand, but that states with large rural populations, Republican voters and African-Americans were likely to be the first to confront the problem.

“If you’re looking to see vaccine hesitancy to emerge,” he said, “it’s going to be in red states like Mississippi.”

View Source

Puerto Rico Adults to Be Eligible for Covid Vaccine on Monday

Puerto Rico said this week that residents 16 or older will become eligible for Covid-19 vaccination on Monday. And after a recent increase in new coronavirus cases, the island will put in place a longer overnight curfew starting Friday.

The start of the curfew, which will run until May 9, will move up to 10 p.m., from midnight, and will continue to end at 5 a.m., Gov. Pedro R. Pierluisi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Restaurants and businesses can continue to operate at 50 percent capacity, while bars and clubs remain closed, he said.

“We are seeing a dangerous spike in Covid cases that has led to a jump in hospitalizations and deaths,” Mr. Pierluisi said. “I have been very prudent when it comes to reopening and have always been willing to make the necessary adjustments to prevent cases from rising.”

according to a New York Times database.

Already struggling because of a debt crisis and the aftermath of hurricanes that have ravaged the island in recent years, Puerto Rico has only seen 23 percent of its total population receive at least one vaccine dose so far, ranking it near the bottom among U.S. states and territories.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that nationwide, about 110 million people, or roughly one-third of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Earlier this week Hawaii became the last of the 50 states to accelerate its timeline for making all adults eligible for vaccination, heeding President Biden’s calls for states, territories and tribes to do so.

While the pace of vaccinations across the country has reached an average of about three million doses a day, outbreaks of the virus in the Midwest and Northeast have federal health officials worried.

View Source

N.Y.C.’s mayor says a new virus rule will reduce temporary public school closures.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced a plan on Thursday that he said would significantly reduce the temporary public school closures that have frustrated parents and educators across city over the last few months.

Starting on Monday, public schools will have to close for 10 days only if four or more coronavirus cases in separate classrooms are confirmed within a seven-day period, and only if the city’s contact tracing program determines that the infections originated inside the school. Until now, schools had to close for 10 days when two unlinked cases were detected, regardless of the source of infection.

The mayor said earlier this week that he would get rid of the so-called two-case rule, which had prompted more than 200 temporary school closures during the last two weeks of March.

The new rule now applies to individual schools, rather than entire buildings. Because many school buildings in New York house multiple schools, two virus cases in one middle school could force an elementary school with no cases on another floor to switch to remote learning for days under the old rule.

Schools with suspected cases will no longer close for 24 hours while health detectives determine whether cases are linked, a change that will eliminate the frequent short-term closures that were sometimes announced just a few hours before the start of the school day. One or more cases found in individual classrooms will continue to prompt temporary closures of that classroom, but not necessarily the whole school.

The city will increase testing in schools where at least two cases are found.

Fully vaccinated teachers — along with older high school students who will be eligible for vaccines this week — will no longer have to isolate even when classrooms quarantine. As of last Friday, well over 65,000 of the roughly 147,000 Department of Education employees had been vaccinated.

New York City parents have until the end of the day Friday to decide if they want to switch their children from remote learning to in-person classes.

View Source

Hawaii Becomes 50th State to Expand Vaccine Eligibility

Every Hawaiian adult will become eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, as Hawaii becomes the 50th state to heed President Biden’s calls to accelerate vaccinations, a health official there said Wednesday.

The news came with a note of caution.

“This does not mean everyone will be able to get vaccinated on April 19, and people must continue to be patient,” Brooks Baehr, a health department spokesman, said in a statement. “Supply still does not meet the tremendous demand.”

In March, Mr. Biden announced that he would direct states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine by May 1. Then on Tuesday, with more states ramping up their vaccination efforts and expanding eligibility, he moved the target date to April 19.

Even before the president’s announcement on Tuesday, residents in Hawaii County, Kauai County and Maui County had opened up their eligibility to adults 16 years and older. That took place on Monday. Honolulu County has not yet expanded its eligibility.

a New York Times database.

Over the past two weeks, Hawaii has reported a 33 percent increase in coronavirus cases, most recently averaging 113 cases a day.

In the United States over all, about three million vaccine doses are being administered a day, on average. Mr. Biden has said he hopes for 200 million doses to be administered by his 100th day in office.

As vaccination becomes more common and some states relax restrictions, scenes resembling prepandemic life have begun re-emerging in the U.S., including in Hawaii, where throngs of tourists have returned.

The state has reopened to travelers, with visitors needing only a negative coronavirus test from the past 72 hours in most places to skip the state’s mandated quarantine order. Last Saturday, almost 29,000 visitors — a number comparable to prepandemic levels — arrived in the state, according to state travel data.

John Yoon contributed reporting.

View Source