Johnson threatens curfew to impose social distancing…

“Curfews and travel bans will be imposed to tackle coronavirus if Britons do not start acting responsibly, Boris Johnson has warned. The prime minister said yesterday that the government was considering introducing tougher restrictions if guidelines on social distancing were not followed after huge numbers flocked to parks, beaches and markets over the weekend. An 18-year-old with underlying health conditions became the youngest known victim of the virus in Britain. Forty-eight deaths were announced yesterday, including that of a 102-year-old who became the oldest known victim. It means that the death toll has risen by more than 50 per cent in two days to a total of 281.” – The Times

  • 24 hours to avoid complete lockdown as stay-at-home advice ‘is being ignored’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister draws up ‘dramatic new laws’ – Daily Express

>Today: Neil O’Brien MP’s column: We are on a terrible course. But some people are still messing about as though this were a game.

…as Cabinet threaten ‘full-scale mutiny’ if lockdown not enforced…

“Boris Johnson faces a “full scale mutiny” from his cabinet and senior aides if he does not enforce a lockdown of London including restrictions on non-essential travel. Cabinet ministers and aides want the prime minister to bring in French or Italian-style lockdown measures in the next 24 hours — requiring people to demonstrate that they have a good reason to leave their homes — after seeing data that showed the UK is on a trajectory towards as many deaths per day as Italy is currently experiencing. Insiders told BuzzFeed News that the scientific advice from the government’s experts still dictated that now was not the right time to implement a full-scale lockdown. They insisted that they would be guided by the science and take the appropriate measures if and when they become necessary.” – Buzzfeed

  • Gove insists he is happy in support role to Hancock… – The Times
  • …as latter says ‘nothing is off the table’ on lockdown – Daily Telegraph

…the Government draws up ‘dramatic new laws’…

“Today, the House of Commons will also debate the Coronavirus Bill in all its stages in order to give the Government added powers to stop the outbreak of the COVID-19. The bill will be enshrined into law later this week and will allow such measures as closing ports and airports. The Government has also sent out 1.5 million letters to the elderly and those who are vulnerable to the virus. The letters ordered those groups to remain at home as part of a “shielding” process to protect them from the rest of the public. With the death toll now standing at 281, McDonald’s has announced the closure of its chains from 7pm today. Schools were shut last week as the UK as Mr Johnson increased measures to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.” – Daily Express

  • Government nationalises rail as an emergency measure – HM Government
  • Downing Street denies Cummings ‘would have let elderly die’ – The Times
  • Latest advice – HM Government

>Today: ToryDiary: A sunset clause should apply to the Emergency Coronavirus Bill after a year

…and Khan calls on police to enforce rules

“The police could use emergency powers to enforce rules on social distancing and reduce the further spread of coronavirus, the London mayor has said, amid concerns about mixed messages from central government on the issue. Following scenes of packed beaches and parks over the weekend, and worries that people fleeing cities for more remote parts of the UK could overwhelm less well-resourced local health services, Sadiq Khan urged people to stay at home if at all possible. “My message to all your viewers is simple: life has changed, we’ve got to do things differently for a while now,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show… London is considered to be several weeks ahead of the rest of the UK in the spread of coronavirus, and while public transport use has fallen sharply and pubs, clubs, restaurants and other venues were closed on Friday, this weekend people in the capital have flocked to parks, markets and other destinations.” – The Guardian

  • Sturgeon moves to stop Highlands influx by people trying to ‘outrun’ coronavirus – Daily Telegraph
  • Restrictions could lead to drug war, says police chief – The Times
  • Sobbing NHS staff shoved out of way as panic buyers hijack store time – The Sun


Tobias Ellwood: We must adjust fast to this new normal

“For anyone still in denial, the closure of schools and pubs and bars, along with the 20 mobilisation of 20,000 soldiers will be the wakeup call needed to adjust to a new normal. Life is going to get tougher, but if we listen, adapt and work together we will prevail. The Queen sent more than a message to the nation last week. It was an instruction: let’s change our routine. As we’ve done in the past, we must all play a part, for the greater good, towards the common goal of saving lives. Perhaps put another way: if you have more than 50 loo rolls in your house, you may wish to check your patriotism. Let us adjust fast to this new normal. Our supermarkets and petrol pumps can cope – but not if we panic. It’s right to move to a war-like footing, with the same measured British resilience the Queen referred to.” – The Sun

  • From work to education to politics, nothing will be the same again – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • The coronavirus crisis may lead to a new way of economic thinking – Larry Elliott, The Guardian
  • How Johnson can be a true ‘One Nation’ Prime Minister – Clare Foges, The Times


  • Johnson’s initial response has been hesitant and behind the curve – The Times
  • A bunch of irresponsible idiots could cost us all our cherished freedoms – The Sun
  • There must be a strategy to return to normal life – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Liam Fox in Comment: The latest evidence from Italy suggests that public health messaging should change. We need less “me” and more “us”.

UK set to launch loans scheme for small businesses

“The government will launch its scheme to help small businesses access crucial loans this week after widespread criticism that it had not acted fast enough to help companies hit hard by the coronavirus and are struggling to survive. Small companies, which are rapidly running out of cash as society shuts in response to the pandemic, have reported a frosty reception from many lenders ahead of the scheme’s launch. These include businesses run by entrepreneurs who are desperate for immediate help from banks, not least because the announcement on Friday of generous wage subsidies do not apply to the self-employed. Earlier last week chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out a rescue package of “£330bn of guarantees” but most of the scheme is designed to offer commercial paper to large companies.” – FT

  • Chancellor under pressure to throw lifeline to self‑employed – The Times
  • Sunak to announce cash bail-out – Daily Mail
  • Five million self-employed workers warn that economy faces ‘fatal seizure’ – The Sun


  • Crisis ignites a bonfire of Conservative party orthodoxies – Andrew Rawnsley, The Guardian

>Today: Ryan Shorthouse in Comment: Next steps for the Chancellor in helping to support the self-employed


Troops will deliver food to the vulnerable

“The army will work with supermarkets to make sure that food and medicines are delivered to the doors of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people. About 1.5 million people deemed to be “at very high risk” if they become infected with coronavirus will be told to avoid face-to-face contact, stay at least two metres away from family members and not go outside for at least three months. Boris Johnson acknowledged that the demand would be “psychologically taxing” but said: “This shielding will do more than any other single measure that we are setting out to save life. That is what we want to do.” Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, promised that those without families or friends to pick up supplies would have free deliveries, saying: “Nobody needs to worry about getting the food and essential items they need.”” – The Times

  • Some 1.5 million to be ‘shielded’ by staying at home for three months – Daily Telegraph
  • UK urges vulnerable people to stay at home for 12 weeks – FT
  • MPs in plea to government over UK’s Covid-19 stockpiling – The Guardian
  • Number of deaths in the UK rises to 281… – The Sun
  • …as total cases leaps 665 to 5683 – Daily Mail

More military:

  • Army called in to support desperate NHS frontline – Daily Express
  • Navy standing by to support prisons if officers catch virus – The Times
  • UK strategy likely to cause 35,000-70,000 excess deaths, says study – FT

NHS 1) Protect workers from coronavirus urgently, says Hunt

“The NHS must ensure that doctors have proper protective equipment, Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, has urged. NHS chiefs say that there are no problems with national stock levels of items including masks, gowns and gloves and that local supply issues should have been resolved over the weekend. However, hospital staff say that they are still experiencing shortages, with nurses going to DIY shops to stock up or even refusing to work without the right equipment. One London doctor said: “Every time the government is asked they say the equipment is there, and it is just not true.” Many have also raised concerns about whether Public Health England guidelines on personal protective equipment (PPE) offer sufficient protection.” – The Times

  • Millions of instant immunity tests promised within weeks – The Times
  • Doctors’ chief says NHS staff fighting coronavirus feel like ‘lambs to the slaughter’ – The Sun

>Today: MPs Etc.: Coronavirus Count

NHS 2) Private sector resources bring welcome relief for NHS

“The agreement to put virtually the entire English private health sector under contract to the government to treat coronavirus patients will have come as a relief to its owners as well as the National Health Service.  The move will provide welcome additional beds for patients on the road to recovery from Covid-19, or those who have not required intensive treatment. It will increase the NHS’s current ventilator capacity by almost 20 per cent and enable urgent operations and other care to be provided that the NHS will be too overwhelmed to deliver. The sector’s 5,000 nurses who currently do not work for the NHS will also be put into the frontline of the coronavirus effort.  However, as the NHS struggles to secure enough critical care beds to treat the expected deluge of patients, the deal is unlikely to deliver a substantial immediate boost to intensive care facilities.” – FT

  • Children’s wards to be cleared for coronavirus cases – The Times
  • Engineers unite to solve ventilator crisis – The Times

Trump says US could be ‘re-opened’ because ‘we cannot let the cure be worse than problem itself’

“President Donald Trump has said the US will make a decision at the end of a 15-day period on ‘which way we want to go’ to fight coronavirus, implying that the country could re-open – just hours after New York City went into lockdown at 8pm on Sunday.  ‘We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,’ he said on Twitter. Trump appeared to send mixed messages as he wrote the tweet after taking aggressive steps to stem the spread of the deadly virus. New York state went into lockdown on Sunday, with all non-essential businesses shuttered, leaving just grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential operations open. New York City’s streets were pictured deserted ahead of the shutdown after the order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo was made on Friday.” – Daily Mail

  • New Zealand announces lockdown; Hong Kong bars entry to all non-residents – The Guardian

May’s anti-injustice quango ‘may never meet’

“A new body promised by Theresa May to tackle “deep-seated societal injustices” has never been convened and never will be, the Observer has been told. The former prime minister’s pledge to create the Office for Tackling Injustices (OfTI) won praise from inequality campaigners, who said it was an important part of the battle to reduce opportunity disparities over race, gender, deprivation, sexuality and disability. The chair of the new office was also announced when May unveiled the plan last summer. May, who in her first speech as prime minister in July 2016 pledged to fight against “burning injustice”, said she wanted it to hold “government and wider society to account”. However, more than eight months after May revealed the plan, the office has never been convened – with some of those involved believing it will never be established.” – The Guardian

‘Corbynism without Corbyn’ will destroy Labour, says Streeting

“A Labour party that espouses “Corbynism without Corbyn” risks disappearing from the political map, a Labour MP has warned. In a new pamphlet with the Fabian Society, Wes Streeting, an MP on the right of the party who has been a persistent critic of Jeremy Corbyn, urges the party to leave the current leader’s legacy behind to give it a chance of regaining mainstream public support. In a plea to change course, Streeting warns that the party’s existence will again be threatened should it continue with some of Corbyn’s key political tenets such as his approach to foreign policy, nationalisation and uncosted spending commitments outside a time of crisis… In “Let Us Face the Future Again”, Streeting calls on Labour to concentrate on economic inequality, our ageing society, technological revolution, the climate emergency and shifting global power.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Why hasn’t Johnson announced a coronavirus lockdown? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • Leading his party out of the crisis: the conundrum facing Starmer – Tom Harris, CapX
  • The BBC is having a good coronavirus war – Robin Aitken, UnHerd
  • Coronavirus has brought out the worst in our selfish society – David Waywell, Reaction
  • Ageing Europe faces demographic suicide – Tim Congdon, The Critic