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Coronavirus 1) Britain in lockdown to save 250,000 lives

“Normal life was put on hold for up to a year last night after Boris Johnson was told that it was the only way to save a quarter of a million lives. In restrictions unprecedented in peacetime, the prime minister urged Britons not to go to pubs and theatres, to work from home if they could, and to stop non-essential travel. He emphasised that the advice was “particularly important” for the 8.8 million people who are aged 70 or above in Britain. They were urged to avoid other people “as much as you can and significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family”. Mr Johnson dramatically intensified his response to coronavirus after scientists told him that a quarter of a million people would have died under his previous plans. He was warned that “social distancing” by the whole population was the only way to bring deaths down from 260,000 to at best a few thousand.” – The Times

  • No 10’s strategy switch may save 250,000 lives – The Times
  • Coronavirus puts life on hold – Daily Telegraph
  • UK curbs social contact and travel in push to save lives – FT
  • Death toll hits 55 – The Sun
  • Devastating reason behind PM’s statement – Daily Express
  • NHS will buy as many ventilators as you can build, PM tells manufacturers – The Times
  • Schools ordered to stay open – The Times
  • But parents keep children at home in record numbers – Daily Mail
  • Hancock tells Britons we are fighting a war against an ‘invisible killer’ – Daily Telegraph
  • UK medics condemn Covid-19 protection – The Guardian
  • Shopping hour and care packages to help over-70s – The Times
  • Energy firms draw up crisis plans – The Guardian
  • Supermarkets warn they cannot ‘feed the nation’ through online deliveries – Daily Telegraph
  • Lockdown improves air quality – The Times
  • Global race to find vaccine is lottery – The Times
  • Trump calls virus ‘Chinese’ – Daily Mail
  • Latest advice – HM Government
  • Scientists’ report – Imperial College
Comment
>Today:
>Yesterday:

Coronavirus 2) New bailout for business as pound falls

“Rishi Sunak has started work on a significant new bailout for businesses hit by coronavirus less than a week after announcing a £12 billion package in the budget. The chancellor’s pledge came as President Macron issued a €300 billion “guarantee” that no French firm would go bust as a result of social distancing measures to curb the spread of the virus. G7 leaders promised to “do whatever it takes” to safeguard the world economy from “downside risks”. Mr Sunak, who is chairing a committee to address the economic issues created by the pandemic, will discuss more help for pubs, clubs, theatres, cinemas and other sectors with Boris Johnson today. The bailout plan emerged as the government was accused of shutting down swathes of the economy without support.” – The Times

  • Businesses demand billions in help to avoid failures – FT
  • Plea to remain at home ‘catastrophic’ for pubs and clubs – The Times
  • UK pub sector could be ‘lost in days’ without Government action – Daily Telegraph
  • Shows don’t go on as theatres shut their doors – The Times
  • High street faces Doomsday – Daily Mail
  • Distillers turn to making sanitisers – FT
  • Comprehensive Spending Review could be delayed til Autumn – Daily Telegraph
Comment
>Today:

Coronavirus 3) EU closes borders as shutters come down

“President Macron announced last night that the EU would close its external borders as he placed France on lockdown in what he called the war on coronavirus. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Macron said that the French would be banned from leaving home for all but essential journeys and added that the EU would shut its borders, initially for a 30-day period. He said both measures would come into force at 11am British time today. Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said that Britons would be exempted from the travel ban into the EU, adding: “The UK citizens are European citizens so of course there are no restrictions for the UK citizens to travel to the Continent.” – The Times

  • ‘We are at war’ against virus, says Macron  – FT

Coronavirus 4) Ellwood warns UK must be alert to threats while distracted by virus

“The UK must be on alert for “wily adversaries” to strike while it is distracted by coronavirus, the chairman of the Defence Select Committee has warned. Tobias Ellwood, a former defence minister, said it was crucial sea deterrents and Nato commitments were maintained whilst the UK worked to contain the coronavirus pandemic, as he cautioned that it was a prime opportunity for attacks to be carried out. “The wily adversary may choose this moment while we are distracted to launch a cyber attack, a terrorist incident, or indeed simply agitate opinion through social media,” Mr Ellwood said.  “We must be on our guard. The ever diverse and increasing threats we face haven’t disappeared. Someone will take advantage of this.” – Daily Telegraph

Coronavirus 5) Scrapping of BBC TV licences for over 75s put on hold

“After joint talks between the Beeb and the Government, the plans to charge people the annual £157.50 fee from June 1 were put on hold until at least August. It comes amid fears that the elderly will be told to stay in their homes for up to four months to try and stop them from getting coronavirus. Ministers said that plans were on the way in the coming weeks to try and shield older and more vulnerable from the deadly bug. Some 36 people in the UK have already died, and more than 1,500 cases have been reported so far. Age UK said yesterday the elderly will be “even more reliant” on their TV and radio for entertainment during this “unprecedented situation” when they will be consigned to their homes, with family and friends unable to visit.” – The Sun

Coronavirus 6) Welby and Sentamu: We must all be good Samaritans

“We are good in this country at holding our nerve and steadying one another. But a pandemic is something else; you can’t touch the virus, see it or even know where it is. It may be spread by those who don’t even know they are infected. It is very serious for some, very mild for many. Nevertheless, the effect of the virus could drive us apart. To some extent it must do. When someone we care for has it or is at risk, they must be isolated. That is particularly so for older people and the most vulnerable, the ones by whose beds we want to sit and hold their hands, expressing our love with touch.  – Daily Mail

Coronavirus 7) Hague: Solutions to this virus can only work with global co-operation

“For those of us who have spent much of our careers in diplomacy and foreign affairs, the most striking aspect of the coronavirus crisis is the lack of international co-ordination. China got things off to a terrible start by refusing assistance from the World Health Organisation when the virus first took hold. Since then, one nation after another has pursued its own separate course of action. Most obviously, President Trump has announced travel bans applying to European countries without warning or consultation. The resulting queues at US airports, with thousands of people from different countries jammed together before entering America, are presumably most unhelpful when trying to combat a pandemic. The EU is now discussing the exclusion of non-EU citizens from the Schengen zone.” – Daily Telegraph

Prisoners to be freed early to ease overcrowding

“Offenders will be released into the community earlier under proposals aimed at easy chronic overcrowding in prisons. Hundreds of offenders serving under four years in jails could be freed up to six weeks earlier than before under legislation announced yesterday, with the eligible period for release moving from four and a half to six months into a sentence. Earlier this month The Times revealed that the Ministry of Justice had been warned in December that recent trends in the prison population “mean we risk running out of prison capacity in late 2020”. Lucy Frazer, the prisons minister, yesterday brought legislation to extend the maximum period of early release under home detention curfew (HDC) which was first introduced in 1999 to deal with overcrowding in the prison estate.” – The Times

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