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‘Stay alert’: Johnson’s new message to the nation

“Boris Johnson will ask the country to “stay alert, control the virus and save lives”, as he unveils a new Covid-19 warning system as part of his road map to gradually unlocking the economy. In an address to the nation tomorrow evening, the Prime Minister is to call on workers and businesses to stay alert by following strict social distancing rules, as the Government encourages those who cannot work from home to begin returning to offices and factories. A new five-tier warning system, akin to the scheme used to publicise terror threat levels, will be used to flag up the virus risk and encourage public adherence to the rules. Alerts will range from level one (green) to level five (red). Mr Johnson is expected to say that England is on the verge of moving from four, the second highest level, to three, which would indicate that the infection rate is not increasing significantly.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Prime Minister warns Britain it is about to enter the most dangerous phase – Sun on Sunday
  • Minimal changes to lockdown rules as he moves with ‘extreme caution’ – Sunday Express
  • Thinking behind the slogan for Phase Two – Sunday Telegraph
  • Ninety per cent of Brits don’t want lockdown eased – Sun on Sunday
  • Queen to leave public stage for months – Sunday Times

Analysis:

  • Johnson will take it slow tonight, he knows he has just one shot – Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler, Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Ten questions for Johnson about his lockdown plan

‘Pressure is growing’ on Hancock over his handling of the coronavirus crisis

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged Boris Johnson to ‘give me a break’ in a furious bust-up over the coronavirus crisis. The row – which raises questions over the beleaguered Minister’s Cabinet future – can be revealed as the Prime Minister prepares to use a televised address to the nation this evening to set out his roadmap for easing the national lockdown. His plans include introducing a five-stage alert system – similar to that used to highlight the risk of a terrorist attack – to signal the risk of infection in different parts of the country. While a green Level One alert would mean life carrying on normally, a red Level Five means that the NHS is in a critical state and on the brink of being overwhelmed.” – Mail on Sunday

  • 100,000 dead if UK eases lockdown too fast, scientists warn – Sunday Times
  • New York medics say it’s time to re-open the city – Sunday Telegraph
  • Rival science advisers urge government to follow ‘local’ strategy – Sunday Times
  • Scientists hit back at attempts to discredit scientific basis for lockdown – The Observer
  • Professor brands Covid-19 the ‘new Polio’ – Mail on Sunday

>Today: MPs Etc.: Coronavirus Count

Ministers fear that ‘The Blob’ is colluding to sabotage the reopening of schools

“Ministers believe ‘The Blob’ – an army made up of political opponents and union barons – is colluding to politicise the coronavirus outbreak, The Mail on Sunday has learned. The accusation comes amid outrage over a threat by unions to block schools reopening unless their demands for extra money are met by Whitehall. Last night the news sparked a furious backlash from academic experts and MPs. And inside Downing Street there is mounting concern that a rejuvenated Labour under Sir Keir Starmer, working with the party’s union allies and the devolved administrations, are co-ordinating their response to lifting the lockdown. A source said: ‘It’s clear they are going to work together to make this as difficult as possible.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • Frustrated police admit they can’t stop people packing out parks and beaches – Sun on Sunday
  • Calls grow for release of restless twentysomethings – Sunday Times

Editorial:

  • Young adults are most hurt by lockdown, time to free them – Sunday Times

Tracker app could put Britons under permanent surveillance, warn Tory rebels

“Boris Johnson is facing a backbench protest over the NHS’s contact tracing app in the latest setback to hit the project before it has even been launched nationwide. Senior Conservatives, including the 1922 committee chairman, Sir Graham Brady, and former ministers David Davis and Andrew Mitchell, have raised concerns that the app, which tells users if they have been in close contact with someone who later reports having coronavirus, could infringe privacy and be repurposed for surveillance. Tory MPs are expected to express their unease about the app in parliament at tomorrow’s Covid-19 debate. It comes amid worries about the efficacy and security of the app, which has been hailed as integral to the government’s plans to ease lockdown.” – Sunday Times

Stephen Bush: Johnson and Starmer both know a true exit plan means reducing our freedoms

“The way out of lockdown isn’t a mystery: governments must first reduce the rate of new transmissions to as close to zero as possible, and then have the necessary infrastructure to test at scale, track the movements of possible carriers, and isolate the infected as and when new outbreaks emerge. There are two barriers in the UK’s path to that destination. The first is logistical: Britain doesn’t yet have the capacity to implement a system of testing, tracking and isolating infections. That is a painful area for the Conservatives, as it means discussing whether they have fallen short in procurement, or if the spending decisions taken since 2010 have left the state ill prepared for crisis. But the second barrier is painful for both parties: a functioning system of testing, tracing and isolating new cases would require a major reduction in our liberties and a prolonged period of increased surveillance.” – The Observer

  • Is the chilling truth that the decision to impose lockdown was based on crude mathematical guesswork? – Matt Ridley and David Davis, Sunday Telegraph
  • A vital lesson in trust is being trampled by errant advisers and ambitious MPs – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times
  • Wicked of the Left to pretend we have the worst death rate in Europe – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • The Government must now allow farming to collapse – Daniel Kawczynski MP, Sunday Express
  • Trade union threats show the contours of battles to come – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: David Gauke’s column: Fairness and the lockdown. Why things must get worse before they get better.

Doctors take legal action to force inquiry into PPE shortage

“Thousands of doctors have begun legal action demanding the government launch a public inquiry to investigate the failure to provide NHS and care staff with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). The legal challenge is being brought by the Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK), which represents more than 29,000 medics working on the front line, and the Good Law Project. Nearly 200 NHS and care workers have died after becoming infected with the coronavirus. In a pre-action legal letter to the Department of Health and Social Care, the doctors say they support the government’s efforts to mitigate the crisis caused by the pandemic but are “deeply concerned” about the “failure to procure and supply adequate PPE”.” – Sunday Times

  • UK care homes scramble to buy their own PPE as national deliveries fail – The Observer

More:

  • Up to 50,000 tests sent to US after problems in British labs – Mail on Sunday
  • Momentum infiltrating  volunteer groups to create far left campaign network – Sunday Express
  • NHS faces waiting list of 7.2 million after coronavirus lockdown – Sunday Times

Dominic Lawson: This care home carnage shames the nation

“According to a Reuters investigation, there have been “at least 12,700 excess deaths in care homes” during the outbreak — that is, over and above the average for the time of year. There will be no great public concern (other than among the families affected) over those with a short remaining life expectancy: typically people live in care homes for two years before dying. But death from Covid-19 is a uniquely lonely one, because relatives are not allowed to be near, let alone touch, the dying… In the end, the way nations are assessed as they match up to the moral, medical and financial challenge of the pandemic will not be based on data alone. It is also a question of character. Here, the fate of our care homes suggests that, at least on the part of the authorities, concern for the elderly is less than my Swedish friend believes. They protected the NHS and wrote off the vulnerable.” – Sunday Times

  • Public health bureaucrats must face a reckoning – Matthew Lesh, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Germany can teach us how to stop being a contemptible nation of supplicants

Pressure mounts on Johnson to ditch the £100 billion HS2 rail project

“Pressure is mounting on the government to ditch the £100 billion HS2 project and invest the money in high speed broadband in the wake of social changes brought about by the coronavirus. Tory MPs are demanding a rethink for the controversial rail project amid demands for investment in other sectors with fears of a collapse in the farming industry. Boris Johnson defied fierce opposition in his party to back HS2 in February despite fears that costs have already gone out of control. But the latest opponent to demand a rethink is former cabinet minister Esther McVey, the founder of the Blue Collar Conservative movement which won Mr Johnson the former Labour heartland seats in December’s election.” – Sunday Express

  • Trains will be 90 per cent empty after lockdown – Sunday Telegraph
  • UK plans £250m boost for cycle lanes and fast-track e-scooter trials – The Observer

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: To stop the roads clogging up, cycle or walk to work post-lockdown, says Shapps

Airlines warned over £7bn in fares owed to passengers for cancelled flights

“The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is investigating airlines’ failure to refund more than £7bn for flights cancelled because of the coronavirus as concern grows that they are breaking the law. The regulator has sought information on the handling of refunds and said it would not accept carriers “systematically” denying consumers their rights. Under European law, passengers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to a refund within seven days. Many airlines, including Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, are issuing vouchers by default and British Airways has removed the option to get a refund from its website. Richard Stephenson, communications director at the CAA, said: “Under the law, consumers are entitled to receive a refund for cancelled flights, despite the challenges the industry is facing.”” – Sunday Times

  • Over-60s warned they may not be able to holiday overseas for a year – Sunday Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Let travel firms die and we lose our passport to the world – Sunday Times

Do not allow ‘biased’ election watchdog power to prosecute, say MPs

“The election watchdog has revealed that it is pressing ahead with plans to hand itself powers to prosecute campaigners and political parties, putting itself on a collision course with ministers. The Electoral Commission is planning to publish a consultation setting out proposals to hand itself a “prosecutions capability”, despite senior Tories insisting that the body is “not trusted to be impartial”. The disclosure comes after the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it had ended investigations into Darren Grimes and Alan Halsall, two pro-Brexit campaign figures, two years after a referral by the commission for alleged breaches of spending rules. The move prompted calls for the commission to be “overhauled”, with Mr Grimes describing the body as a “kangaroo court” that was not “fit for purpose”.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Darren Grimes in Comment: I won in court. There are no charges against me. The Electoral Commission is discredited. Now there must be a reckoning.

Labour 1) Nandy says UK faces ‘serious reckoning’ about global role

“Lisa Nandy has said the government’s “go it alone” approach left Britain unable to to prepare for the coronavirus crisis as she urged Boris Johnson to spearhead international cooperation to create and distribute a vaccine. In her first newspaper interview since becoming shadow foreign secretary, the former Labour leadership candidate said the aftermath of the pandemic should mark a “serious reckoning” about Britain’s role in the world. She criticised the “myth of exceptionalism”, which she said was part of the country’s self-image. “Britain was in that position, where our government had increasingly taken an isolationist route, and championed the idea of a small island nation that would go it alone, and punch above its weight, without stopping to think about how we were going to exert power and influence in the world, particularly with China and the US taking the approach that they’ve taken,” Nandy said.” – The Observer

  • Johnson’s £100 billion trade dilemma on China – Sun on Sunday

Labour 2) Starmer under pressure to ‘kick out’ party activists for glorifying IRA terrorist

“Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faces pressure to expel activists for glorifying a terrorist. IRA victims are angry at a group hailing hunger striker Bobby Sands a hero. Members of London Young Labour posted a Twitter tribute on the anniversary of Sands’s 1981 death last week, claiming he died a prisoner of war. They added: “We continue to fight for an end to imperialism for a free and united Ireland.” They also praised tyrant Vladimir Lenin for his legacy of the Russian revolution. Two IRA victims have written to millionaire Sir Keir calling for an inquiry into the 15,000-member London Young Labour. Party supporter John Radley, 60, wounded by a 1981 nail bomb at Chelsea Barracks, said: “This is an insult to the thousands of families whose lives were torn apart in The Troubles.”” – Sun on Sunday

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