Lockdown “due to last until at least May 7”

“Britain will remain in lockdown for another three weeks as the cabinet debates whether to encourage some people to return to work. Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Boris Johnson, will announce on Thursday that the lockdown will stay in place until at least May 7. He is expected to ask Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, and the other leaders of the devolved administrations to attend a Cobra meeting to ensure a UK-wide approach in setting the deadline, the maximum allowed under emergency legislation that mandates reviews every three weeks.” – The Times

  • SAGE to meet today to analyse lockdown’s impact on infection and death rates – The Sun
  • Majority of Britons support lockdown rules – Daily Mail
  • Britain has “still not passed the peak of this virus”, cautions Raab – FT

> Yesterday:

… as Cabinet exit strategy is “shelved”

“FRESH concern was mounting among senior ministers tonight about how a plan to end the coronavirus lockdown is drifting because of the power vacuum. Downing Street aimed to spell out a formula this week on how it will gradually allow the nation to return to normal after the contagion’s peak. Some Cabinet ministers pushed for No10 to lay out a route map to give the public reassurance as the economic destruction mounts. But a bid to publish the latest thinking at the same time as the lockdown’s three week legal review on Thursday has now been shelved. Today the key committee of government advisers will determine the success of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown in what could influence the length of the lockdown.” – The Sun

  • Ministers disagree on lockdown plan – Daily Mail
  • … and are banned from using “alarming” exit strategy rhetoric – Daily Telegraph
  • Half of people unable to work from home – Daily Telegraph 
  • Spain, Italy and Austria begin lifting lockdown restrictions – Daily Mail
  • Growing fear that you can catch Covid-19 more than once – Daily Mail
  • Johnson takes first steps outdoors at Chequers – Daily Telegraph

> Today:

Sajid Javid: The free market is the only way to revive our economy

“Unprecedented. It’s a word I’ve reached for many times in recent weeks. Not as hyperbole but as the only possible description of the events unfolding before us. I built my career amid some of the most turbulent periods in business and politics but have never seen anything like it. When we do emerge from this pandemic, the world will have changed irreversibly. That’s partially due to the pain that lockdown has caused. The activity that underpins British jobs and incomes is the same one that makes us vulnerable. To protect life, livelihoods must give way. The result has been the sharpest downturn since the 1930s Depression.” – The Times

Coronavirus is being “airbrushed” off death certificates, says care home whistleblower

“The scale of the coronavirus catastrophe unfolding in Britain’s care homes was dramatically laid bare last night. The Chief Medical Officer revealed that almost 100 more homes had reported outbreaks in the past 24 hours. He said more than 13 per cent had now been hit nationally by the deadly disease, the equivalent of a staggering 2,200 homes. The Daily Mail has been told that the figures are even worse in London, where almost a quarter of the 1,300 residential and nursing homes have been affected. Another 30 care home deaths were confirmed over Easter, as the virus spread through facilities in Essex, Durham and Glasgow. Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann, who has long campaigned for dignity for the elderly, said the crisis showed how some of society’s most vulnerable were being ‘abandoned like lambs to the slaughter’.” – Daily Mail

  • Fears grow over fatalities in care homes – The Times

Virus testing should have been ramped up sooner, says Vallance

“The chief scientific advisor to the government has admitted that coronavirus testing in the UK should have been ramped up more quickly. Speaking on ITV’s Coronavirus: Q&A broadcast on Monday night, Sir Patrick Vallance said at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, testing in the UK was “at the right level” and Public Health England (PHE) “got off to a good start” in terms trying to “make sure they caught people coming into the country with it [coronavirus].” However, he went on to say that it was then “not scaled as fast as it needs to scale”. He added that testing in the UK has since been ramped up.” – ITV

  • Ministers set to miss coronavirus test and ventilator targets – The Sun
  • Britain missed three chances to buy protective equipment, claims report – The Times
  • UK ventilators still awaiting regulatory green light – FT
  • A third of NHS and critical workers tested have coronavirus – Daily Telegraph
  • Face mask policy under review, says Vallance – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain’s death toll could be double the amount recorded – Daily Mail
  • Coronavirus is ten times deadlier than swine flu pandemic, says the WHO – Daily Mail

> Today:

Raab “promised” China not to politicise crisis

“China has said that it secured a guarantee from Dominic Raab that the coronavirus outbreak would not be “politicised”. The foreign secretary was also said to have agreed with Beijing that the source of the virus was a “scientific issue” that required a professional assessment. The leading hypothesis in the international scientific community is that the pandemic originated in the “wet markets” of Wuhan, a city in Hubei province where live wild animals are sold. However, China has sought to dismiss the claim and has been found by Britain’s intelligence agencies to be disseminating disinformation online about the origins of the pandemic, The Times understands.” – The Times

Sunak hands out £14 million to help frontline services

“RISHI Sunak has handed out £14billion to help frontline services beat Covid-19. The Chancellor has tripled the emergency fund from the £5billion set in the Budget. Mr Sunak said: “We are doing everything we can to provide our NHS, local authorities and others with the resources they need to tackle the virus.” “We depend on them, which is why we are doing everything we can to provide our NHS, local authorities and others, with the resources and tools they need to tackle the virus. “From the start, I’ve been clear our vital public services will get whatever they need to protect this country and its people from coronavirus. “We are delivering on our pledge.” The cash includes an extra £6.6bn for health, £1.6bn for councils and nearly £1bn to send food parcels to vulnerable Brits forced to stay shut up at home because of the virus.” – The Sun

  • £14 million for frontline is what NHS staff need, but poorest must not pay – The Sun

Cars to be banned from roads to pave the way for runners

“Roads in built-up areas may be converted into car-free zones to create extra space for cyclists and joggers during the lockdown. Local authorities are considering plans to close off streets to vehicles to prevent them being turned into rat runs while allowing local residents to exercise. Councils in cities including London, Manchester and Brighton were among the first to draw up proposals to convert roads into temporary bike lanes, following similar measures imposed by other countries. There has been a sharp drop in the number of vehicles on the road because of the lockdown conditions imposed to control the spread of coronavirus. Overall, traffic has declined by as much as three quarters compared with normal levels.” – The Times

Brexit talks to resume tomorrow

“The EU and UK will return to the Brexit fray on Wednesday to figure out how to salvage negotiations on London’s future relationship with the Brussels in the face of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Michel Barnier and David Frost, the two chief negotiators, will have their first official contact since Mr Barnier, leading the EU team, announced on March 19 that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Mr Frost, his UK counterpart, went into self-isolation soon afterwards after displaying symptoms.  The goal of the call will be to fix dates for rounds of virtual negotiations on the future partnership.” – FT

> Today:

Some Labour party members “were borderline Neo-Nazis”, says report

“Anti-Semitism was so rife within Labour that some members’ views were like those of neo-Nazis, a damning internal report found. Investigators said prejudice against Jews became common within the party. And they revealed former leader Jeremy Corbyn did little to help discipline offenders until two years ago. The report highlighted ‘a litany of mistakes and missed opportunities’ amid strained relations between Mr Corbyn’s office and Labour HQ.” – Daily Mail

News in brief: