Deputy Chief Medical Officer says lockdown will be lifted gradually – and that it will take at least six months to get back to normal

“Life in Britain will not return to normal for six months, the public were warned yesterday, as ministers began preparing the country for an extended period of lockdown. Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that the strict social distancing rules in place at present would have to remain for between two and three months. She warned that it would be a further three months before all the present restrictions were lifted, and even then there were likely to be “bumps” as new clusters of cases were identified. “We must not suddenly revert to our normal way of living. That would be quite dangerous. If we stop them [the restrictions] all of our efforts will have been wasted and we could see a second peak,” she said.” – The Times

  • Death toll rises by 209 to 1,228 and infections jump by 2,483 to 19,522 – Daily Mail
  • NHS to send daily text to self-isolating Brits – The Sun
  • Scientist who predicted 5,700 deaths now says final toll will be much higher – The Times
  • Prime Minister ‘under pressure to self-isolate for 14 days’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Government to cap university admissions to prevent ‘free-for-all’ – The Guardian
  • Latest advice – HM Government


  • Following the science is the shortest way – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Saving the NHS v saving the economy?

Quarter of Britons could be tested for coronavirus to shorten lockdown period

“One in four Britons could be tested for coronavirus to try to shorten the lockdown. In a sign that ministers have finally accepted the urgency of mass testing, officials have agreed deals to buy 17.5million kits for use by mid-April. They hope to identify contagion hotspots as well as people who are immune. The tests would help get NHS staff back to work with screening of frontline workers, such as teachers and police officers, to follow. The programme could see movement restrictions lifted earlier than the six months suggested by the Government’s scientific advisers yesterday. ‘The top priority is randomised testing to establish how far the disease has spread,’ a Whitehall source said.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain ‘finally hits 10,000 tests a day’ – The Sun
  • This is the fastest way to lift restrictions, says Hunt – Daily Mail
  • Britain’s frontline doctors braced for coronavirus surge… – FT
  • …as up to a quarter are off due to Covid-19 – The Sun

>Today: MPs Etc.: Coronavirus Count

Jeremy Hunt: Only coronavirus testing can save us from anguish and lead us out of this crisis

“My sister… was allowed back into China only under the strictest conditions because, I’m afraid to say, the Chinese regard our measures to contain the virus as inadequate. She and her children were met at the airport by medical staff and their temperatures taken before they were driven home for a mandatory two-week quarantine. My sister’s husband, who had stayed in Beijing, was required to leave the family home and check into a hotel. Then they sealed her front door and ordered her and the children not to leave. A police car patrols regularly up and down her street and she must submit her and her children’s temperatures through an app twice daily. To Westerners, this may seem like a grotesquely disproportionate and illiberal response. But I’m afraid these sorts of measures, with testing and contact-tracing at their heart, show us the only way out of this crisis.” – Daily Mail

  • Hysteria has crashed the economy and will kill more than coronavirus – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Herd immunity is the only way out of this impasse – Jullien Gaer, Daily Telegraph
  • In a national crisis, people are desperate to believe in their leaders – Andrew Rawnsley, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Gove – “We hope we can reduce the rate of infection”

Gove rejects ventilator criticism after failure to join EU partnership

“Michael Gove has issued a carefully worded defence of the government’s failure to join an EU ventilator procurement scheme as ministers faces intense pressure over missed opportunities to secure more of the machines. No 10 has made getting additional ventilators a priority but delays to British industry efforts to make more of them have added to criticism over its failure to join a Brussels-led drive. Claims from companies that Whitehall ignored offers to help to source existing supplies have put ministers further on the back foot. Mr Gove apologised to one company which said that an opportunity to buy 25,000 machines went begging because the government did not reply to its offer of help. He suggested, however, that some of the offers made had turned out to be useless.” – The Times

  • Breathing aid that could reduce intensive care need by 50 per cent tested in UK hospitals – Daily Telegraph
  • Formula One rivals join forces in race to build enough ventilators – The Times


  • Intensive care now limited to those ‘reasonably certain’ to survive – Daily Telegraph
  • NHS ‘failed pandemic readiness test’ in 2016 – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “There’s nothing we can’t do as an independent nation that being part of that scheme would have allowed us to do”, says Gove

Jenrick unveils volunteer strategy…

“The whole of Britain will be placed on an “emergency footing” to tackle the social, economic and health implications of coronavirus, the communities secretary said yesterday as he pledged that no vulnerable person would be left unsupported. Under plans to be implemented over the coming days each part of the country will set up strategic co-ordination centres linking the emergency services with council leaders and the NHS so that they can respond quickly to problems in their areas, Robert Jenrick said. Each of the centres will be led by a “gold commander”, a position normally reserved for emergency operations. They will have a military planner embedded with them and the potential to call on armed forces support if needed.” – The Times

  • Government hampers to be delivered to 50,000 people this week – Daily Telegraph
  • Recruitment frozen as volunteer numbers surge – The Times
  • Over 750,000 people step up to help – The Sun
  • Response to crisis proves ‘there is such a thing as society’, says Johnson – The Guardian

>Today: Will Tanner in Comment: Service and self-sacrifice. Our new polling suggests that people are more concerned about others than themselves.

…as grounded airline staff are asked to bolster NHS resources

“Thousands of airline cabin crew grounded by the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK are being asked to support doctors and nurses at new temporary field hospitals being built around the UK. The offer to redeploy airline staff comes as the NHS confirmed the death of its first frontline doctor from the virus in Britain. Consultant Amged El-Hawrani, 55, who had tested positive for coronavirus, died at Leicester Royal Infirmary on Saturday, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton said on Sunday.  “Nobody can be in any doubt about the scale of the challenge we face with this virus, and Amged’s death is not just an individual human tragedy but a stark reminder to the whole country that we all must take this crisis seriously,” said Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director.” – FT

  • EasyJet grounds entire fleet in response to travel lockdown – Daily Telegraph
  • Regional airports fear for the future as Covid-19 grounds flights – FT

Business 1) Sharma ‘tears up red tape’ to support the Health Service

“The Government has pledged to tear up business red tape to get vital supplies to the NHS frontline. Business Secretary Alok Sharma unveiled measures to boost the supply of personal protective equipment, such as face masks, to protect staff during the coronavirus crisis. Official rules which made it difficult to produce more hand sanitiser will also be ditched. Mr Sharma said: “New suppliers and businesses that produce ingredients for safe hand sanitiser will be able to bring their products to market in a matter of days. Companies including BrewDog and Ineos have already stepped forward to offer their services.” The Health and Safety Executive and local authorities will be asked to fast-track PPE through the product safety assessment process, and to make this a priority over “market surveillance activity”.” – Daily Express

  • Pressure to provide equipment grows after two UK doctors die – The Guardian
  • Internet providers will remove data caps to boost Brits stuck at home – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “We will not stop until we have got you the equipment you need.” Jenrick hosts today’s Government press conference.

Business 2) Zahawi defends businesses trying to stay open

“Criticism of companies who have chosen to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown is being fuelled by people who ‘hate the private sector’, claims business minister. Conservative minister Nadhim Zahawi showed his support for firms who continue to trade, calling for damage to the UK economy to be ‘minimised’ and dismissing ‘unfair criticism’ of bosses… Zahawi emphasised that businesses which do not fall under the categories Boris Johnson has chosen to shut, have every right to stay open. Many takeaway firms have chosen to close their doors due to public pressure despite the government guidelines allowing them to remain open.” – Daily Mail

  • MPs call for Sunday trading laws to be scrapped to ease supermarket queues – The Sun
  • List vital sectors so others can shut, Labour demands – The Times


  • Stop sniping at the businesses that will get us back on our feet – Nadhim Zahawi, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ashworth – “There are many non-essential workers being forced to go to their workplaces”

Raab to unveil repatriation plan for stranded Britons overseas on Tuesday

“Dominic Raab will on Tuesday set out a repatriation plan to help hundreds of thousands of Britons stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Telegraph understands. The package will focus primarily on additional commercial flights put on by airlines, after the Foreign Secretary spent his weekend calling counterparts around the world to convince them to keep air routes open. A number of new charter flights are also expected to be announced, with three planes already set to take off from Peru for London later this week. However, Mr Raab’s priority remains keeping commercial planes in the sky and ensuring that major international transit hubs remain open for Britons returning from long-haul destinations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Military planes on standby to rescue Brits left stranded abroad – The Sun
  • New Zealand’s coronavirus travel ban traps Britons – The Times

Tories ‘call for rethink of relationship with China’…

“The Chinese authorities were not clear about the “scale” and “infectiousness” of the early coronavirus outbreak, Michael Gove said yesterday, as senior Tories called on the government to “rethink” its relationship with Beijing. In comments that will irritate the Chinese authorities, who have been keen to play up their success in tackling Covid-19, Mr Gove implicitly criticised China’s early response to the outbreak. The first known case of coronavirus was identified in Wuhan at the start of December and the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported on December 9 that a “new viral outbreak” had been detected in the city. However, it was not until December 31 that the country officially notified the World Health Organisation that it had detected “pneumonia of unknown etiology” in Wuhan.” – The Times

  • Gove accuses Beijing of hiding true scale of coronavirus crisis – Daily Telegraph


  • EU project in ‘mortal danger’ if Italy and Spain are abandoned – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

…as Trump says 200,000 dead would be ‘good result’ for the US

“President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he would consider it a ‘win’ and a ‘very good job’ if he can manage to keep the death toll from coronavirus to between 100,000 and 200,000 since estimates put it at more than 2 million if he did nothing. Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had social distancing measures not been put in place. And he said the country would be doing well if it ‘can hold’ the number of deaths ‘down to 100,000.’ He said the best case for the country would be for the death rate to peak in about two weeks. ‘It’s a horrible number,’ Trump said, but added, ‘We all together have done a very good job.'” – Daily Mail

  • The US will not pay for your security, President tells Sussexes – The Times

Jobless expected to rely on savings, ministers warn

“Staff made redundant because of the coronavirus, along with the self-employed, will be expected to use their savings before they are eligible for emergency government assistance. The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed yesterday that people with savings of more than £16,000 will not be eligible to apply for the government’s universal credit scheme. Anyone with savings over £6,000 will have the amount they are able to claim under universal credit docked. For every £250 that someone has in savings over £6,000 the universal credit payment will be reduced by £4.35 each month up to the £16,000 total cut-off point. The move will also affect those who participated in a government-backed scheme designed to help young people get on the property ladder.” – The Times

  • Creative industries left out of self-employed support – FT
  • UK gives furlough lifeline to workers made redundant since March – Daily Express
  • Britain’s economy ‘will shrink by 15 per cent between April and June’ – Daily Mail


  • Borrow emergency cash by all means, but please pay it back – Torsten Bell, The Guardian
  • We do not have to return to austerity economics – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Labour 1) Kinnock targeted by police for visiting father, Neil

“The MP son of Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader, has been publicly shamed by police for “non-essential” travel during the coronavirus lockdown after going to celebrate his father’s 78th birthday. Stephen Kinnock, the MP for Aberavon in South Wales, posted a picture of himself sitting on a chair outside his parents’ London home, adhering to guidelines to stay two metres apart, as they marked the occasion with his wife, the former prime minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. But officers from South Wales police, 150 miles away, rounded on him for the decision to go to see his family. It was the latest example of lockdown enforcement tactics deployed by police across the country, who have broken up parties, deterred motorists and walkers with drones and dyed a lake black to put off swimmers under strict physical distancing rules.” – The Guardian

  • Householders recruited to ‘network of doorbell cameras’ to help catch thieves – Daily Telegraph
  • Police will ignore some crimes as officers fall victim to coronavirus – The Times
  • Authorities continue to shame thousands of people allegedly flouting lockdown rules – Daily Mail


  • Creeping authoritarianism has no place in Britain – The Sun

>Today: Richard Holden MP’s column: Here in a Consett car park, social distancing from my voters as required, I mull why it all feels different in County Durham.

Labour 2) Long-Bailey says leadership contest to end in ‘bizarre’ way

“Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed that all candidates are to pre-record a victory speech ahead of the winner being announced. The shadow business secretary said the move was to “deal with these strange times” following lockdown measures in the UK during the Covid-19 outbreak. Ms Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer are the three remaining candidates, with the successor to Jeremy Corbyn due to be announced on April 4. She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I think it’s trying to deal with these strange times and have an announcement on the leadership contest that our members and the public can view from their homes really.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Labour’s leadership candidates been asked to film victory videos, reports Long-Bailey

Women who accused Salmond of sex offences ‘devastated’ by acquittal

“Nine women who accused former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond of sexual offences have said they were “devastated” by his acquittal, but that coming forward to report their experiences was the “right thing to do”. Mr Salmond was acquitted by a jury at the high court in Edinburgh of 13 charges including attempted rape and sexual and indecent assaults against a total of nine women. A further charge of sexual assault against another woman by the former first minister and Scottish National party leader was dropped by prosecutors. Mr Salmond had denied all allegations of criminality since first charged with sexual offences in January 2019. Giving evidence at his trial, he said some of the charges against him were “fabrications for a political purpose” and others were exaggerations.” – FT

  • Sturgeon told outbreak proves why SNP must scrap independence plot – Daily Express

News in Brief:

  • A time for science – Chris Skidmore MP, Research Professional News
  • Lockdown is bringing out the worst in authoritarian police – Rachel Cunliffe, Reaction
  • Prisoner release is the best way to avert a Covid catastrophe in our jails – Ian Acheson, CapX
  • Can poorer nations survive Covid-19? – Daniel Knowles, UnHerd
  • Spain faces a political reckoning after its coronavirus crisis – Jim Lawley, The Spectator
  • Bercow’s vengeful pursuit of political power – Natascha Engel, The Critic