Is COVID back on the rise? Plus, more are eligible for COVID funeral assistance; Nets fined for letting Kyrie into locker room

Here’s the top COVID-19 news for today, March 15.

What rising Covid-19 infections in the UK and Europe could mean for the US

Two weeks after the United Kingdom dropped its last remaining Covid-19 mitigation measure — a requirement that people who test positive for the virus isolate for five days — the country is seeing cases and hospitalizations climb once again.

Covid-19 cases were up 48% in the UK last week compared with the week before. Hospitalizations were up 17% over the same period.

The country’s daily case rate — about 55,000 a day — is still less than a third of the Omicron peak, but cases are rising as fast as they were falling just two weeks earlier, when the country removed pandemic-related restrictions.

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US funeral assistance for COVID tops $2 billion

The federal government has provided more than $2 billion to help cover funeral costs for more than 300,000 families of people who died from COVID-19, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Tuesday as it launches a new campaign to raise awareness about the aid to eligible families. More than 965,000 people have died in the U.S. from the virus.

The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance program provides up to $9,000 per funeral and covers COVID-19 related deaths since Jan. 20, 2020. The average amount awarded per death is $6,500, according to FEMA.

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NBA fines Nets $50,000 for allowing Kyrie Irving to enter locker room

The NBA has fined the Brooklyn Nets organization $50,000 for allowing Kyrie Irving into the team’s locker room on Sunday.

Irving, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, is unable to play in the team’s home games due to New York City’s workplace vaccine mandate but is allowed to attend home games as a spectator.

Irving was in attendance courtside for the team’s 110-107 victory over the New York Knicks at Barclays Center in New York, and the NBA says the Nets were fined for “violating local New York City law and league health and safety protocols.”

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Chinese virus cases climb, raising the threat of trade disruption

Chinese authorities on Tuesday tightened anti-virus controls at ports, raising the risk of trade disruptions after some auto and electronics factories shut down as the government fights coronavirus outbreaks.

Stock prices in China and Hong Kong sank for a second day following the shutdown on Monday of Shenzhen, a tech and finance hub adjacent to Hong Kong in the south, and Changchun, an auto center in the northeast. Bus service to Shanghai, China’s business capital and biggest city, was suspended.

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