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Johnson orders lockdown of Britain

“Boris Johnson declared a “moment of national emergency” last night as he finally imposed a near full lockdown of Britain to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Police will enforce new quarantine rules under which people will be allowed to leave their home only for essential supplies, one form of daily exercise, medical care or “absolutely necessary” work. The prime minister closed all shops selling “non-essential goods”, playgrounds, libraries and churches. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating around the globe.” – The Times

  • Biggest lockdown of society in British history ordered – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister orders toughest measures in peacetime – The Times
  • Lockdown could go into June, say aides – The Sun
  • Anyone who flouts crackdown faces fines of up to £1,000 – The Sun
  • Gatherings of more than two people banned – The Sun
  • New measures will last for three weeks – FT
  • British police “dubious” over whether they “have the powers to enforce a lockdown” – The Guardian 
  • London is most vulnerable to coronavirus outbreak – FT
  • Police sickness could jeopardise PM’s plans – Daily Express
  • MOD deploys 250 military personnel to enforce lockdown – The Sun
  • Army may be called to help enforce lockdown – Daily Mail
  • All UK weddings cancelled – Daily Mail
  • Prisons brace for surge in coronavirus cases – FT
  • Death toll rises to 335 – The Sun
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The Prime Minister had been “holding out against lockdown”

Boris Johnson will order police to enforce a strict coronavirus lockdown, with a ban on gatherings of more than two people and strict limits on exercise, as he told the British public: “You must stay at home.” The prime minister ratcheted up Britain’s response with an address to the nation on Monday evening, warning that people would only be allowed outside to buy food or medication, exercise alone once a day, or to travel to work if absolutely necessary…It is understood that Johnson himself had until now been holding out against a lockdown.” – The Guardian

  • …But Hancock had advocated a harder line… – FT
  • … And Gove not ruling out tighter restrictions – The Guardian

William Hague: Rigorous testing is the route back to a free society

“No one can now be in any doubt: this is the most serious social and economic crisis since the Second World War. If mishandled, the consequences will include millions of lives lost, devastating economic depression, social unrest and political upheaval. There can be few greater tests of decision-making and leadership. In Britain, as in many countries, the decisions made so far involve a vast increase in the role and power of the state. Never in peacetime has a government taken over so rapidly the financing and direction of so many areas of the economy, and never in history has it intruded so minutely into how individuals live alongside each other.” – Daily Telegraph

Raab orders UK citizens to fly home

“All British travellers should return to the UK immediately or risk being stranded as the likelihood grows that most air links will close within the next 48 hours, the UK government said on Monday. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, called on UK citizens still abroad to contact their tour operator or airline while flights were still available. “We are strongly urging UK travellers overseas to return home now where and while there are still commercial routes to do so,” he said.” – FT

  • One million Brits ordered to catch next flight home – The Times
  • Get home within 48 hours, orders Foreign Secretary – Daily Telegraph

Emergency Coronavirus Bill passes without opposition

“Emergency legislation giving sweeping powers to ban gatherings and forcibly quarantine suspected coronavirus patients was passed by MPs on Monday night, despite continued worries about civil liberties and the potential effect on vulnerable people. The coronavirus bill, which will be in force for two years, completed all its stages through the Commons in one day without opposition MPs forcing any votes after Downing Street offered the concession that it would be reviewed every six months. Labour welcomed the move, but expressed concern at some of the measures in the 329-page bill, which will go to the Lords later in the week, notably changes to rules over mental health and the provision of social care.” – The Guardian

  • Bill will put vulnerable people at risk, warn charities – The Guardian

Sunak to announce emergency package for self-employed

“MILLIONS of self-employed workers hit by the coronavirus shutdown are poised to be offered 80 per cent of their income under an emergency package to be unveiled on Wednesday. Boris Johnson and his Chancellor will finalise details of the funding plan today as senior Tories warned the Government they had just 48 hours to save Britain’s five million self-employed. Ex-Tory Business Secretary Greg Clark led calls for the plan to be “comparable” to the job retention scheme for employees, whereby companies who keep their workers will receive 80 per cent of their wage bill.” – The Sun

  • Chancellor under growing pressure as five million uncovered – Daily Telegraph
  • Arlene Foster: More support needed to help self-employed – Shropshire Star
  • John McDonnell challenges Sunak on measures – The Guardian
  • Landlords barred from evicting firms that fail to pay rent – Daily Telegraph
Yesterday:

Hunt calls for more NHS equipment

“Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called for more testing and tracing to ‘break the chain’ of transmission. He told MPs that this could be more important than social distancing and called for scientists and civil servants to be mobilised. Mr Hunt also warned that it ‘may be too late’ to avoid Britain becoming like Italy, which has suffered one of the worst outbreaks. He told Parliament: ‘Now is the time for a massive national mobilisation behind testing and contact tracing.’ Whilst welcoming Boris Johnson’s ‘ambition’ of 250,000 tests a day, he said that just 5,500 people had been tested on Saturday – no significant increase on a week ago.” – Daily Mail

  • UK failing to hit test target of 10,000 a day – Daily Telegraph
  • Hospital becomes the first in UK to cancel all routine cancer surgery – Daily Telegraph
  • NHS has more than doubled number of ventilators – The Sun
  • British manufacturers rush to make 30,000 extra ventilators – The Times
  • NHS currently has access to 8,175 ventilators including 691 from private hospitals – Daily Mail
  • Over 7,500 clinicians to rejoin the NHS – The Guardian
  • Army may build field hospitals in conference halls – The Times
  • Military planners considering using London’s Excel Centre as field hospital – Daily Mail
  • Seven in 10 patients admitted to intensive care units in the UK were overweight or obese, and seven in 10 cases male – Daily Telegraph
Today:

UK Government races to build antibody testing kit

“The UK Government is working with the inventors of the home pregnancy test to develop a coronavirus testing kit in Britain and Senegal. Mologic was granted £1million to produce two different types of test which reveal if someone has ever had the deadly virus in the past. The kits – one will look for antigens in spit, the other will scour blood for antibodies – could also tell if a person currently has the infection. But the company, who laboratory in Bedfordshire was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month, estimates it will be up to six months before Brits can use them.” – Daily Mail

Frost: Brexit deadline should not be extended

“On Friday, Mr Frost showed signs of being infected with coronavirus a day after his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, tested positive for the disease. Number 10 confirmed Mr Frost is now self-isolating. Despite the coronavirus pandemic derailing face-to-face negotiations, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Brexit talks with the EU will continue in the upcoming days. Last week, the EU drafted a post-Brexit trade deal proposal, covering areas such as security, foreign policy and fisheries. The 441-page draft legal text was sent to the 27 EU states, ahead of being presented to the UK this week. However, according to political analysts, much of the draft will be outright rejected by the UK because of references to EU law and fishing.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Patrick Nicholls in Comment: Patrick Nicholls: Fishing. My part in the movement to take control of it back from the EU.

Salmond acquitted of sexual offence charges

“Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond walked out of Edinburgh’s High Court a free man on Monday after a jury acquitted him of all 13 sexual offence charges brought against him in a two-week trial. Speaking outside the court after the verdict, Mr Salmond, who had told the court that some of the charges against him were “political fabrications”, said the trial had “reinforced” his faith in Scotland’s court system. Mr Salmond, also a former leader of the Scottish National party, made clear that he intended to pursue those in the Scottish government and SNP that his defence lawyers suggested had orchestrated the allegations against him.” – FT

  • Salmond faces new police investigation following allegations made by four women – The Times
  • Sturgeon under pressure over SNP’s handling of Salmond allegations – The Times
  • Salmond may sue Scottish government for “ruining three years of his life” – The Times
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