UK eases lockdown but nervously eyes European virus surge

LONDON (AP) — Britain is taking another small step out of lockdown as it looks nervously at a new virus surge inundating its European neighbors. With U.K. coronavirus vaccination rates outstripping those of European Union nations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is easing the stark “stay at home” message that has kept the virus in check for almost three months. Beginning Monday, the message in England will be to stay local. People can meet in groups of six outdoors and can resume outdoor sports such as basketball, tennis and golf.  COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths have plummeted in Britain but are rising in much of Europe due to virus variants.