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Johnson sets out lockdown plan…

“Boris Johnson has set Britain on the first tentative steps to “reopening society” with a road map out of lockdown. The prime minister urged people last night to “go to work if you can’t work from home” and said that the time had come to begin restarting the economy. In a televised address he laid out a three-month plan to reopen primary schools, shops and outdoor cafés. Mr Johnson warned that every move was conditional on containing transmission rates, but faced a backlash from union leaders and some businesses over the lack of detail in the road map.” – The Times

  • Golf and sunbathing to return, but haircuts have to wait – The Times
  • New fines of up to £3,200 for breaking rules – Daily Telegraph
  • Rail operators told to prepare for a significant increase in service – The Times
  • Johnson vows to “reverse” outbreaks in care homes – Daily Mail
  • Schools will start to reopen from June – Daily Mail
  • Teachers want students disinfected at school gates – The Times
  • The British Beer & Pub Association warns of “severe uncertainty and financial devastation” – Daily Mail
  • 29 per cent of people admit breaking lockdown in anonymous poll – The Times
  • France emerges from two months of lockdown – The Times
  • Spain’s coronavirus death toll falls to lowest in seven weeks – The Times
  • R rate rises in Germany to 1.1 – The Times
Analysis:
  • Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement explained – The Times

>Today:

>Yesterday:

… and will expand on it later in the House of Commons

“Boris Johnson will provide more detailed plans to gradually ease the coronavirus lockdown when the Government publishes its official guidance amid widespread calls for clarity. The Prime Minister will also face MPs on Monday after offering his “first sketch of a road map” for restarting the economy and social lives in England. He will give a statement to the Commons, at 3.30pm, with more information expected on a Covid-19 alert system, use of face coverings and the return of professional football. In a broadcast from Downing Street on Sunday evening, the PM said a phased reopening of schools and non-essential shops in England could potentially begin from June 1 if transmission can be reduced.” – The Scotsman

“Furious” Cabinet ministers left out of PM’s decision-making process

“Boris Johnson was forced to quell a Cabinet rebellion on Sunday after furious ministers complained about being left in the dark about his plans to ease the lockdown. The Prime Minister insisted at Sunday’s meeting he had not made any decisions behind the ministers’ backs, and also issued a personal apology to Health Secretary Matt Hancock following newspaper reports that his performance had been called into question. Members of the Cabinet had complained before the meeting that they were about to be presented with a “fait accompli” by Mr Johnson as it emerged parts of his speech were recorded on Saturday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Dowden “raised concerns” about “the tourism industry”  – The Times

Police chiefs concerned they cannot enforce relaxed lockdown

“The lockdown has been rendered unenforceable by “reckless and irresponsible” advance briefings about a relaxation of the rules, police chiefs told The Times. Senior officers revealed breaches all over the country at the weekend, with daytrippers travelling to beauty spots, friends gathering in parks and socially distanced street parties spilling into houses. The hot weather was a factor, but members of the public were also encouraged by briefings from anonymous officials about the relaxation of lockdown before last night’s announcement by Boris Johnson. John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, responded to the prime minister’s statement with a call for clarity in messaging. He said that some members of the public had acted as though the lockdown was over, and there was “extreme pressure” on frontline police officers.” – The Times

Frances O’Grady: PM’s plans are “a recipe for chaos”

“Boris Johnson has been warned by trade unions that ordering many people back to work from as early as Mondayis a “recipe for chaos” in the absence of urgent action to safeguard workers’ health. The prime minister said on Sunday that anyone who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged” to return to their jobs from Monday. Detailing plans to gradually reopen the British economy after more than a month of tough controls during the health emergency, he said those in manufacturing and construction jobs in particular should be encouraged to return.” – The Guardian

Sturgeon: I will not sign up to Boris Johnson’s vague and imprecise “Stay Alert” slogan

“The coronavirus pandemic is a massive challenge for all of us – and without question the biggest I have faced in the five and a half years I have been privileged to serve as First Minister. And today, like every day since we entered these difficult times, it is my responsibility to take the judgments that I think are right for keeping Scotland safe. We are making real progress in tackling the pandemic – but that progress is fragile and could all too easily be undone. That is why I am reiterating, in the strongest possible way, that the message to people here in Scotland remains Stay at Home – unless you have to go out for food, medicine, exercise or to do essential work that can’t be done at home.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK split as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland retain “stay at home” advice – FT
  • Fears that Downing Street is ignoring places outside London – Manchester Evening News
  • Coronavirus in Scotland LIVE: ‘Stay at home’ remains message from Nicola Sturgeon – The Scotsman
  • The lockdown rules in Wales that now differ from England – Wales Online
Comment:

>Yesterday:

Airport arrivals to be forced to quarantine…

“ARRIVALS at airports will be forced to quarantine for 14 days under Boris Johnson’s plan to exit the lockdown. The PM tonight revealed his “first careful steps” of easing the coronavirus lockdown to get life back to normal. And he confirmed reports that people arriving in the UK will be quarantined for two weeks to stop a second coronavirus wave. No10 said they were still working out the detail on whether the quarantine would include arrivals by port or Channel Tunnel. Speaking to the nation, Boris said: “To prevent re-infection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.”” – The Sun

  • … but France exempt from the rules – Daily Mail

Sunak’s job retention scheme set to be extended to September – at lower rate

“Ministers are expected to extend the state bankrolling of wages until the end of September, albeit at a reduced rate of 60pc, while also topping up the pay packets of staff brought back to work on a part-time basis. Changes to the furlough scheme could be announced by Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, as soon as tomorrow. The move is part of a package of ­reforms to wean Britain off furloughing as the Covid-19 lockdown is eased, with the Government desperate to get staff back to work. Industry sources told the Telegraph that Cabinet ministers have ­begun telling bosses that the coronavirus job retention scheme will continue throughout the summer, with the taxpayer footing the bill for 60pc of wages.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cabinet colleagues warn Chancellor not to prop up firms that cannot survive in the long-term – The Times
  • Start-ups fear being excluded from Sunak’s bailout package… – The Times
  • … but the programme could be revamped – Daily Telegraph

David Davis: Johnson must think big to save the economy

“Last night in his sombre address to the nation, the Prime Minister told us that he was putting the safety of the country before the economy, and was only going to marginally relax the lockdown. His judgement on that may be right, and it accords with the public mood. But it means that many more businesses will not survive the crisis. The Bank of England, which warns that the UK is facing the worst recession for 300 years, and the Treasury have to recognise that all the old economic paradigms are defunct. Because this crisis will take nothing less than a once-in-a-life-time economic strategy to overcome and we have to pillage recent economic history to prevent our own Great Depression. We will have to countenance deficit funding like never before, and debt horizons never seen in peacetime to make this work.” – Daily Mail

Government “exploring plans” to build permanent reserve force of medics

“The British government is exploring plans to build a permanent reserve force of medics to support the NHS, following the success of its call for retired clinicians to return to the frontline of the coronavirus crisis. More than 30,000 retired doctors and nurses signed up to help during the Covid-19 emergency, in what health leaders described as “the biggest recruitment drive the NHS has ever seen”. One person familiar with the initiative, which has the backing of Downing Street and the health department, likened the potential new force to the Army reserve, in which thousands are trained to serve alongside regular troops if and when required.” – FT

  • Seven million people will be on hospital waiting lists by autumn, warns report – Daily Mail
  • Scientists concerned that Covid-19 can mutate – The Guardian

Jenrick: UK could adapt or replace its contact tracing app

“The UK is prepared to adapt or replace the smartphone contact tracing app it has developed for coronavirus if a trial on the Isle of Wight proves that necessary, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sunday. His comments came after residents on the Isle of Wight encountered problems with the NHS app during the trial that began last week, including some smartphone users receiving alerts that they had been in contact with people suffering from Covid-19, even though they had not gone outside. The Financial Times reported on Friday that the NHS has begun developing a second contact tracing app after privacy campaigners and technology experts raised concerns about the first one.” – FT

No extension to Brexit, Downing Street tells Brussels

“Downing Street has warned Brussels that there will be no extension to the post-Brexit transition period because of fears Britain will be tied into a raft of European Union coronavirus pandemic legislation. Boris Johnson spoke with Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, just before the weekend to discuss the international response to the coronavirus crisis. Tomorrow, David Frost, the prime minister’s chief negotiator, will tell Michel Barnier, his EU counterpart, that currently deadlocked trade talks must be made to work over the remainder of this month because the government will not extend them.” – The Times

  • Brussels will push Britain for detailed talks on access to UK fishing waters – FT
Comment:

China hits back at “preposterous allegations”

“China has furiously hit back at what it dubbed ‘preposterous allegations’ made by the US over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The 30-page, 11,000-word article came as a report claimed Chinese President Xi Jinping personally asked World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom to ‘delay a global warning’ about the threat of Covid-19 during a conversation in January. Germany’s Der Spiegel published the allegations this weekend, citing intelligence from the country’s Federal Intelligence Service, known as the ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ (BND).” – Daily Mail

Comment:

Serious Fraud Office struggles under Coronavirus pressures

“The UK’s biggest bribery and fraud investigations are being hampered by problems processing evidence during the lockdown — heaping more pressure on the Serious Fraud Office over delayed cases. The anti-corruption agency, which has reduced staff numbers working at its offices, has stopped processing all evidence in the form of paper documents or seized devices to minimise the risk of transmitting the virus. Normally, this type of “hard-copy” or “physical’ evidence”, which includes items such as personal computers or USB memory sticks, would be handled by office staff who upload the data to the SFO’s electronic review platform.” – FT

MPs urge Government to intervene on “thinly veiled” gambling adverts

“Gambling firms are undermining their pledge not to advertise during lockdown by showing “thinly veiled” commercials disguised as social responsibility messages, according to MPs who have urged the government to intervene. The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), whose members make up the vast majority of the UK industry, vowed last month to suspend TV and radio ads in response to concerns that vulnerable people and children were at greater risk during Covid-19 isolation. Instead, starting from last Friday, they promised to air “safer gambling” messages, detailing tools that customers can use to stop themselves losing control, such as cash deposit limits.” – The Guardian

82,000 people ditch TV licenses

“Thousands of households are cancelling their TV licences every month as viewers decide they can live without the BBC, figures obtained by The Times suggest. The number of licences across the UK fell by 82,000 in the five months to March, according to data disclosed by the broadcaster in response to a freedom of information request. There are now about 25,525,000 homes with TV licences, down from 25,607,000 last November and the lowest figure since 2014-15. The uptake of TV licences increased steadily over most of the past decade because of the rising population and a crackdown on evasion, reaching a peak of 25,960,000 in 2017-18.” – The Times

News in brief:

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