Covid live updates: Starbucks, Target among Texas retailers sticking with mask mandates

Here are some significant developments:

  • Connecticut will soon lift a host of coronavirus restrictions, including on restaurant capacity and a travel ban, but will still have a mask mandate.
  • Italy has blocked the export to Australia of 250,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses, amid a dispute with the drug manufacturer over delivery shortfalls inside the European Union.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced she would extend the state’s mask requirements for another five weeks, breaking with some other GOP governors who ditched such mandates.
  • The Senate voted to open debate on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
  • Britain and several other countries announced that existing vaccines modified to target the new variants will not be subject to lengthy clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration issued similar guidelines to vaccine makers last month.
  • A coronavirus resurgence across Europe has ended a six-week decline in new cases on the continent, the World Health Organization said.
  • Since it began, the pandemic has killed more than 519,000 people in the United States, and while 15.9 percent of the population has received at least one vaccine dose, the numbers of new infections have halted their steady decline.