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Coronavirus 1) Stay away this Mother’s Day, says Johnson

“Boris Johnson will today urge Britons to celebrate Mother’s Day remotely by using video calls – as he admits the NHS is on the brink of being ‘overwhelmed’ by the coronavirus outbreak. The Prime Minister’s warning that ‘the numbers are very stark and they are accelerating’ came as the UK death toll soared to 233 – up 56 in a day. Doctors warned that a ‘tsunami’ of severely ill patients was about to engulf them, describing near-apocalyptic scenes amid chronic shortages of basic equipment and fears that unprotected medics could either become desperately ill themselves or become carriers and infect others. As hospitals raced to convert operating theatres into intensive care wards and begged vets to hand over ventilators normally used for pets, Mr Johnson pleaded with the public to reduce social interaction, even with their mothers.” – Mail on Sunday

  • 1.5 million told to self-isolate at home for three months – Sunday Times
  • NHS sends guidance letter to over-70s, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions – FT
  • UK braces for Italian-style crisis – Sunday Telegraph
  • Britain is exactly two weeks behind Italy – Mail on Sunday
  • Saturday marks worst day for European casualties since crisis began – FT
Analysis:
  • “Unmitigated, the death number was 510,000” – Sunday Times
>Today
>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 2) Boris Johnson: Videocall her, Skype her, but avoid unnecessary physical contact

“Today is Mother’s Day. It is a day when we celebrate the sacrifice and the effort of those who gave us life. Across the country, I know that millions of people will have been preparing to do something special – not just a card, not just flowers. I know that everyone’s strongest instinct is to see their mother in person, to have a meal together, to show them how much you love them. But I am afraid that this Mother’s Day the single best present that we can give – we who owe our mothers so much – is to spare them the risk of catching a very dangerous disease.” – Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 3) NHS enlists English private hospitals to fight virus

“The entire capacity of the private hospital sector in England will be used to treat coronavirus patients, and take on work the NHS is too overwhelmed to carry out, under a deal announced by the government on Saturday. As the taxpayer-funded health service braces for hundreds of thousands of extra patients, the agreement will provide nearly 20,000 extra staff to help manage the surge in cases, NHS England said. The arrangement, which in effect puts the whole private hospital sector under contract to the government, will start on Monday.” – FT

  • Doctors complain of equipment shortages – Sunday Times
  • Companies enlisted to create thousands of ventilators – FT
  • Three junior doctors “struck down by coronavirus in the same hospital” – The Sun
  • Families fearful of elderly coronavirus patients being discharged – Daily Telegraph
  • Pharmacies low on paracetamol – The Sun
  • Thousands more beds, ventilators and staff to become available next week – Manchester Evening News
  • Doctor made £2.5m a week from “coronavirus tests” – Sunday Times
  • February “was really the time when we should have been full speed ahead” – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 4) Sunak accused of forgetting self-employed

“Rishi Sunak was last night racing to plug “gaps” in his latest support package for businesses and workers, as he faces claims that he has “left behind” the self-employed. The Chancellor is “actively considering” possible ways to broaden the scope of measures announced on Friday, which included paying up to 80 per cent of individual employees’ wages. He is being lobbied to mirror the approach of Norway, where the government is to pay self-employed workers grants equating to 80 per cent of their average income over the past three years. Mr Sunak is also under pressure to announce major additional support for airports and airlines.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Millions could lose job despite Chancellor’s intervention – Daily Telegraph
  • Five million self-employed workers call for more help – The Sun
  • Zero-hours workforce despairs – The Guardian
  • Don’t stop paying our fees, plead private schools – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 5) We need you, Hancock tells former medical staff

“A massive 4,000 nurses and 500 doctors have returned to the NHS since they were called to return to work to help battle coronavirus on Friday. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the figures in a video shared to Twitter today, but stressed the country ‘needs many more’. In an impassioned plea, Mr Hancock called all recently-retired medics to come back to ‘help in this unprecedented crisis’ and said: ‘Your NHS needs you’. The UK’s coronavirus death toll skyrocketed by 56 in 24 hours bringing the total fatalities to 233.” – Daily Mail

  • You’re “the glue holding all of us together”, Patel tells emergency services, police officers and firefighters – The Sun

Coronavirus 6) Number 10 draws up “designated survivor” plan

“Downing Street has drawn up a “designated survivor” plan to ensure the continuity of the government if Boris Johnson or his top aides fall sick, after a host of senior officials were forced to self-isolate last week. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary who is also first secretary of state, will stand in for the prime minister if he contracts the coronavirus — but the decision has unleashed acidic exchanges among ministers jostling to be next in line.” – Sunday Times

  • Gove and Hancock both “vying” to become Johnson’s “coronavirus chief executive” – Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 7) NHS boss: Panic buyers should be “ashamed”

“A TOP NHS official has slammed people panic-buying to stockpile amid the coronavirus crisis and leaving overworked medics without food. NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis said panic buyers were depriving NHS staff of the supplies they need, adding: “Frankly we should all be ashamed.” This week has seen queues outside supermarkets and many shelves stripped bare amid concerns about a lockdown brought on by the outbreak.” – The Sun

  • “A billion pounds more food in people’s houses than there was three weeks ago”, says British Retail Consortium chief executive – Daily Mail
  • Food industry has stepped up production by 50 per cent – FT
  • Tesco drops offers and raises prices on “hundreds of products” – Sunday Times
  • “Buy only what you need”, pleads Tesco boss – Mail on Sunday
  • Military planners drafted in to help feed the vulnerable – The Guardian
  • No panic buying in Spain, Italy and France – Mail on Sunday
  • NHS and elderly could be cross-infecting during designated shopping hours – Daily Telegraph
  • Chickens sell out as families try to produce own eggs – Daily Telegraph
  • Supermarkets and high street retailers pledge millions to help needy – Daily Telegraph
  • Coronavirus scammers target older vulnerable people – The Guardian
>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 8) Government prepares to rescue British Airways

“The UK Government is drawing up plans to buy shares in British Airways and other airlines hit by the Pandemic Crisis to keep them afloat, insiders confirmed. Talks are in place which could see the State holding equity stakes in companies on the brink of collapse as coronavirus panic damages the UK economy. Billions of pounds would be injected into the likes of BA, whose boss Alex Cruz told his 45,000 staff that the viral outbreak is threatening the company’s survival. Mr Cruz warned that the escalating crisis is ‘of global proportions like no other we have known’ – including the 2008 Financial Crisis and 9/11.” – Daily Mail

  • “We cannot allow [coronavirus] to force well-leading, well-run firms out of business”, says Shapps – Daily Mail
  • Hedge funds make £1bn through betting on downfall of major airlines – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 9) Troops on call to assist with lockdown

DEFENCE chiefs are today poised to deploy troops on the streets to support police, the NHS and local authorities, as Downing Street prepares to enforce travel restrictions and escalate the country’s fightback against Covid-19. Lt Gen Tyrone Urch, head of the Army’s Standing Joint Command, has been tasked with generating a force of 20,000 personnel, with an initial 5,000 soldiers ready to move from midnight last night.” – Daily Express

Comment:
  • “We can commemorate tomorrow, March 23, 2020, as the day Parliament died”, Peter Hitchens – Mail on Sunday

Foreign Office diplomat told US to put Anne Sacoolas on “next flight out” of Britain

“One of Britain’s top diplomats has been removed from his post after it emerged he told the United States they should ‘feel able’ to put fugitive spy Anne Sacoolas ‘on the next flight out’ of Britain following the death of teenage motorcyclist Harry Dunn. Neil Holland was serving as the Foreign Office’s Director of Protocol and Vice-Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps when he sent the incendiary text message to a US counterpart last September. It came just two weeks after the 19-year-old was killed in a crash with Ms Sacoolas’s 4×4 outside RAF Croughton, a US spy base in Northamptonshire.” – Mail on Sunday

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