Prime Minister to write to every household to help boost lockdown

“At an anticipated cost of £5.8 million, the letters will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government’s advice following much public confusion…The letters and leaflets are the latest in a public information campaign from No 10 to convince people to stay at home, wash their hands and shield the most vulnerable from the disease. ‘We know things will get worse before they get better,’ the PM’s letter will read.  ‘But we are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal. ‘It has been truly inspirational to see our doctors, nurses and other carers rise magnificently to the needs of the hour.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Prime Minister’s letter: full text – Sunday Times
  • Death toll passes a thousand – Sun on Sunday
  • NHS medical director says keeping deaths below 20,000 would be a good result – Mail on Sunday
  • Government adviser Ferguson says lockdown will be necessary until June – Sunday Times
  • (Academic catfight over his record – Mail on Sunday)
  • Volunteer army reaches 745,000 – Sunday Telegraph
  • Johnson held video conference yesterday morning, Number Ten says his symptoms are still “mild” – Mail on Sunday
  • Jack self-isolates with “temperature and cough” – Observer
  • Ministers draw up rota to avoid contact – Sunday Telegraph
  • The “war Cabinet” is now taking decisions in order to prevent Sturgeon playing politics in and after Cobra – Sunday Times
  • Tesco puts one item limit on essentials such as milk and bread – Sunday Times
  • Diverting care away from cancer patients “threatens more lives than Coronavirus” – Sunday Times
  • Two million self-employed Britons “could miss out” – Mail on Sunday
  • The lockdown: is it working? – Sunday Times
  • Police Federation wants parents fined for children flouting lockdown – Mail on Sunday
  • Patel vows action against rise in online child abuse during crisis… Mail on Sunday
  • …As Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launch stay-at-home mental health scheme – Mail on Sunday
  • Zaghari-Radcliffe’s husband says that she is being considered for clemency – Sunday Times
  • Premier League restart considered for July – Sunday Express
  • Broadband providers to lift data cap – Observer
  • Ghani co-leads call for relaxing Sunday trading restrictions… Sun on Sunday
  • …And there’s a ramp on to use the crisis to liberalise abortion laws – Sunday Times
  • 2016 dry run found that Britain wasn’t prepared for a pandemic – Sunday Telegraph
  • “David Guake” writes about crisis in ConHome column – Sunday Express
  • Poll says Prime Minister doing well and that the Government was too slow – Sun on Sunday
  • Sunak is voters’ choice as Johnson’s stand-in – Mail on Sunday

Ministers 1) Sharma leads press conference and announces insolvency rules relaxation

“The Government has relaxed insolvency rules to give bosses more breathing space when their businesses are hit by coronavirus. Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced on Sunday that struggling companies would be able to access supplies and raw materials while restructuring their finances. There would also be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading rules, applied retrospectively from March 1, meaning that company directors would not be personally liable for their decisions during the pandemic. Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced on Sunday that struggling companies would be able to access supplies and raw materials while restructuring their finances.” – Sunday Telegraph

Ministers 2) Rescue package for Brits drawn up by Raab

“Dominic Raab will announce a rescue package for up to a million Britons stranded abroad as early as tomorrow. Officials said the RAF might be called on to help. The foreign secretary will unveil a programme of commercial flights and charter flights to repatriate those trapped abroad in countries including Peru, Nepal and New Zealand…Raab faces growing pressure to instruct RAF planes to join the rescue mission after military officials said he was failing to call on forces that stand at the ready. He has declined to sign off on military rescue missions.” – Sunday Times

Brits stranded abroad stories:

Ministers 3) Health officials say it could be weeks until testing under Gove plan

“Michael Gove, minister for the Cabinet Office, announced the plan on Friday to prioritise antigen testing for health workers, which would allow healthy staff who have been in contact with an infected person to return to work. But health officials said yesterday that it could be several weeks before testing can begin. The NHS has more than 1m staff. The disclosure comes amid scrutiny of five coronavirus policy pledges made by Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, to improve the availability of antigen and antibody tests, protective equipment for staff, ventilators and hospital beds.” – Sunday Times

  • UK consortium to begin making 10,000 ventilators – Observer
  • Public Health England plans to treat patients with blood of recovered people – Sunday Telegraph
  • Report claims survival rate in A & E is 50 per cent – Observer
  • Ministers urged to move faster on protective gear – Observer

Ministers 4) Jenrick leads mission to deliver hundreds and thousands of food parcels

“The mission is being overseen by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick with the aid of military planners and councils. Ministers are working with the food industry, local government and emergency partners to ensure the food parcels can be delivered. Depending on demand, hundreds of thousands of boxes could be sent out each week. Medicines are to be delivered by community pharmacies. Food distributors will ensure essentials end up at the right homes. They will be left on the doorstep to minimise human contact. There are around 1.5 million being asked to self-isolate after receiving notice from the NHS or their GP.” – Sun on Sunday

China: “there has to be a reckoning”, say Ministers and officials

“Senior Ministers think China risks becoming a pariah state unless there are sweeping reforms when the crisis abates, and they are demanding an urgent review of Britain’s relationship with the Communist super-state. It comes as the Prime Minister faces renewed Cabinet pressure to block the deal with the Chinese technology giant Huawei to build vast swathes of Britain’s 5G network. A source said: ‘There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies.’ Another source said: ‘There has to be a reckoning when this is over.’ Yet another added: ‘The anger goes right to the top.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • We must stop kow-towing to these despots – Iain Duncan Smith, Mail on Sunday

Charities feel the pinch

“Across Britain, charities are reeling at a time when their support for the homeless, aged, sick and hungry, and their ability to relieve pressure on the NHS, has never been so vital. Thousands of charity shops are shuttered. Spring is prime season for runs and other fundraising events but all have been halted. Next month’s London marathon alone would have raised about £70m. Plunging stock markets have ravaged investments and will do the same to donations. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) says the charity sector will lose £3.7bn of income over the next 12 weeks. It would normally raise about £12.5bn.” – Sunday Times

What will happen to the Brexit trade talks?

“Civil servants working on Brexit have been switched to dealing with the coronavirus amid claims that no meaningful work is being done in Whitehall to prepare for the negotiations, which are supposed to conclude by December 31. A senior EU official has also intervened to say it would be impossible to continue negotiations without face-to-face talks, which have been suspended because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, has tested positive for the virus and David Frost, Johnson’s point man in the talks, has until recently been self-isolating with symptoms. Johnson’s team continued to insist on Friday that the December 31 deadline remained and senior sources said there was “no way” that the prime minister would consider a delay.” – Sunday Times

Mail on Sunday: The approach of some police forces and officers to this lockdown is officious

“Boris Johnson is said to have been unhappy about imposing his lockdown on the country, and that his naturally liberal instincts are troubled by it. Let us hope that this is so.  Let him give a lead to a less officious, wiser approach to keeping coronavirus under control. And let us all bear in mind that this is in our hands, too. If this episode leads to us becoming less free, then that will be a great disaster.  The Mail on Sunday is confident we will all – Government, police and people – work hard to avoid such an outcome.” – Mail on Sunday

  • An unimaginable challenge to our leaders – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times
  • Redeploy civil servants to contact trace – Jeremy Hunt, Sunday Telegraph
  • All lives aren’t equal, but we still want them saved – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • NHS staff will not cull on the basis of age – Ron Daniels, Mail on Sunday
  • Business leaders must do everything to keep the economy going – Andrew Griffith, Sunday Telegraph
  • If Germany can test so many people, why can’t we? – Sunday Times Editorial
  • This lockdown means a Stasi society – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • Like World War Two, the virus can bring good in its aftermath – Jonathan Sacks, Mail on Sunday
  • My NHS colleagues are committed, but we’re at maximum stretch – Dan Poulter, Observer
  • Fools cheering their own imprisonment risk unleashing forces deadlier than the virus – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • We will find a pathway to victory – Patrick O’Flynn, Sunday Express
  • Let’s not turn into a nation of little tyrants – Nick Cohen, Observer
  • More Londoners must stay at home – Sadiq Khan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Things will get worse before they get better – Sunday Telegraph Editorial

> Today:

> Yesterday:

Starmer to purge Corbynite Left

“In one of his first acts, Starmer is set to request the departure of Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s chief of staff, and Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, citing their alleged mishandling of bullying and anti-semitism allegations, which aides have said amounts to “gross misconduct”. He will then overlook high-profile Corbynistas by appointing a fresh shadow cabinet with almost all left-wing rising stars excluded. Rachel Reeves, the Leeds West MP, has told friends she is in the running to be shadow chancellor. Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, is one of the handful expected to stay on, to maintain consistency in the party’s response to the coronavirus threat.” – Sunday Times

Scotland plans own field hospital move

“This week, Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood revealed plans for the measures – to deal with the expected rise in coronavirus cases – were underway.She said: “We have had quite detailed discussions very recently and I know that there are sites being considered in Scotland this week.”
It is understood officers from the Royal Engineers could be assessing the SEC for its suitability. Today, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Scotland rose by seven to 40. Across the UK, the number of people to have died after contracting the virus passed 1000.” – Scotsman

  • “Extraordinary” lockdown powers for Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph
  • Salmond is a bully and sex pest, according to his own QC, filmed saying so on train – Sunday Times

Trump backs away from New York quarantine

“He said: “Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot – New York, New Jersey. Maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined.” The president added: “Restrict travel. Because they’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don’t want that. Heavily infected.” He said: “Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot – New York, New Jersey. Maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined.” The president added: “Restrict travel. Because they’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don’t want that. Heavily infected.” – Sunday Telegraph