Newspaper headlines: Lockdown ‘by back door’ and virus ‘hidden victims’.
MPs in Greater Manchester have called for the revival for the shielding programme instead of tougher restrictions across the board.
The Daily Telegraph’s front-page headline is: “Shielding is the answer, Manchester MPs insist”.
The paper says Boris Johnson is being urged by leaders in Greater Manchester to avoid shifting the area to the toughest Covid-19 restrictions by instead making it compulsory for elderly and vulnerable people to shield.
The Telegraph says the idea is backed by senior Conservative MPs, who believe the strategy would cost 80% less than going to the highest alert level because the impact on businesses would be eased.
The Guardian argues that the prime minister needs to “rebuild a political consensus for his pandemic strategy”.
Its editorial suggests he should “woo local council leaders whose vocal assent would encourage the public to comply with a lockdown regime”.
“9 million on the edge”, proclaims the front of the Daily Mirror. It says people across Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and north-east England are the latest to face a move to the highest coronavirus alert level.
There’s a picture on the front of the I newspaper of hospitality industry workers at Parliament Square in London protesting against the system of Covid restrictions.
They’re carrying placards with slogans including: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”, and “Today’s special: poverty”.
Under the headline “playing with fire”, the Sun’s leader scoffs at the Welsh government for imposing a short lockdown in an attempt to reduce coronavirus cases.
“How brave of the Labour leader in Wales,” it says, “to volunteer his people for house arrest, joblessness and ruin to test the scientifically dubious theory that a new lockdown may set Covid back.”
The Daily Mirror is more generous. It points out that the Welsh Parliament is providing £300m to support businesses affected by the move and suggests the Westminster government “must follow suit” with a similar plan.
If it doesn’t, the paper warns that “large swathes of our land” will be devastated.
‘Mental health a priority’
According to the Daily Mail, the Duke of Cambridge is warning of a “Covid mental health catastrophe”.
It says Prince William told business leaders during a video conference that the lack of socialising during lockdowns could cause widespread harm.
A royal aide is quoted saying: “The mental health of the nation is always a priority. It will only be in the coming months that we see how acutely this is being affected by what is happening.”
The lead in the Financial Times predicts that the EU is heading for a one trillion euro deficit because of the pandemic.
The FT has used draft budget plans, published on the European Commission website, to calculate that member states will slide this year to a total fiscal deficit of 976 billion euros.
The Daily Mail’s political sketch writer, Henry Deedes, welcomes yesterday’s Commons statement about the trade talks with the EU.
“After weeks of Covid caterwauling,” he writes, “it was back to good old Brexit.” He sums up proceedings thus: “We had anger, we had insults – there was even a crosspatch cameo from Theresa May.”
There are photographs that capture the former prime minister’s frustration about how the cabinet minister, Michael Gove, responded to her concerns. The paper says she “recoiled like she’d found an ancient kipper in the fridge”.
Former prime minister Theresa May’s expression in the Brexit debate said it all, according to the Daily Mail.
“Students from north of England tell of toxic attitude at Durham” is the headline in the Guardian.
It says undergraduates at Durham University have been “ridiculed over their accents and backgrounds”, according to a report compiled by Lauren White, a student who moved back home to Gateshead because of the taunts she suffered.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, is quoted saying “everyone has the right to study and work in an environment that is respectful”. He says the findings will be looked into.
The Sun’s opinion column welcomes plans for a review of the parole system in England and Wales.
It concludes that the shake-up announced by the justice secretary “must prevent dangerous criminals from being unleashed on the public”. The paper also believes that victims should be given a say in whether offenders are released or not.
An article on the front of the Times suggests that millennials around the world are fed up with the political system.
A survey of five million people showed that those in their 20s and 30s had less faith in democratic institutions than their parents or grandparents did at the same age. It says the collapse of confidence is particularly pronounced in Britain, the US and Australia.
Finally, the Daily Star’s lead says the Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker, made a “right wally of himself” by not practising what he preaches in terms of Covid-19 precautions.
It reprints one of his tweets which says: “Why would anyone object to wearing a mask in a shop? Not exactly a hardship. What a nation of snowflakes we’ve become.”
This is superimposed onto a picture of him in the frozen foods section, not wearing a face covering.
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