Joy for UK pubs and hugs tempered by rise in virus variant

LONDON (AP) — Toasts of joy and hugs between friends were on the menu as pubs and restaurants in the U.K. reopened for indoor service for the first time since early January. The prime minister, however, urged people to be cautious amid the spread of a more contagious COVID-19 variant first found in India. The latest step Monday in the gradual easing of nationwide restrictions also saw theaters, sports venues and museums reopen. The move raises hopes that Britain’s ailing economy may soon start to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. International travel is also now permitted, and thousands of Britons flocked to Portugal, one of the very few places on the government’s list of safe destinations.