‘Doctors prepared to announce my death,’ Johnson reveals

“The PM told The Sun on Sunday he was given “litres and litres of oxygen” to keep him alive. He added: “It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario. “I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place. “The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong. “They gave me a face mask so I got litres and litres of oxygen and for a long time I had that and the little nose jobbie.” The stark reality of his plight quickly struck home when he was wired up to monitors and moved into intensive care. He told how “the bloody indicators kept going in the wrong direction” and he realised there was no cure for Covid-19. During his life-or-death struggle at St Thomas’ Hospital last month, Boris kept asking himself: “How am I going to get out of this?” – Sun on Sunday


‘Primary schools could reopen in June’, as PM to address nation next Sunday…

“Primary schools are due to reopen as soon as June 1, as part of Boris Johnson’s blueprint for gradually “unlocking” Britain, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. The Prime Minister is expected to unveil the Government’s “roadmap” out of the coronavirus lockdown in an address to the nation next Sunday, after ministers take stock of a study showing the rate of the virus’s transmission in the UK. One of the plans being discussed to help to reopen workplaces across the country is to ask companies to routinely test asymptomatic staff as part of a national effort to track the disease and isolate those who could be infectious. Based on the current, reduced infection rate, Mr Johnson is hoping to put teachers on three weeks’ notice to reopen primary schools in England to all pupils on June 1, Whitehall sources said.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Reopening primary schools is ‘a top priority’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson prepares to reveal ‘new normal’ – Sunday Telegraph
  • Contact could be limited to less than 10 friends and family – Sunday Telegraph
  • Britons ‘will be allowed to exercise several times a day and visit countryside’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Free over-70s from lockdown, say doctors – Sunday Times
  • Sunday trading laws could be scrapped – Sun on Sunday
  • UK death total reaches 28,250 – Sun on Sunday
  • ‘Nearly half of all doctors forced to find own PPE’ – Observer
  • How will a socially-distanced high street work? – Observer
  • BA wants all staff not laid off to accept zero-hours contracts – Sun on Sunday
  • Leaders join forces to find vaccine – Observer
  • Pharma giant gets go-ahead for antibody test – Observer
  • Germany’s death rate hits 5-day high as lockdown return feared – Sun on Sunday
  • Will great Chinese buffet survive virus? – Observer

Daley: Is this the most socially conscientious era we have ever known?

“There is a truly extraordinary phenomenon occurring simultaneously in nations across the world. I do not mean coronavirus which, although unique in its particular structure, is not unprecedented in its consequences or its attributes. No, what is surprising is not the fact of an infectious disease which reaches global proportions. It is the almost universal willingness of governments to take extreme and potentially very damaging measures to protect what are expected to be quite small minorities of their populations and, even more remarkable, the willingness of the majority of those populations to accept such measures.”– Sunday Telegraph


…and government gives £76m to support vulnerable in lockdown

“The government has announced a £76m package to support the most vulnerable in society, including victims of domestic violence and modern slavery, rough sleepers and vulnerable children. Acknowledging that the coronavirus lockdown is making it harder for people in often dangerous situations to seek help, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said victims of domestic abuse would get more support with housing. Victims will get priority access to local housing, with funds given to charities to support those needing help. “For some in our society these measures involve sacrifices that none of us would wish anyone to bear,” said Jenrick. “For victims of domestic abuse it means being trapped in a nightmare.” – Observer


But scientists challenge No 10 with rival advice on Covid‑19

“The government’s former chief scientific adviser is convening a rival panel of experts to offer advice on easing the lockdown. Tomorrow Sir David King will chair the first meeting of the group, which is designed to act as an independent alternative to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage). The move comes after weeks of unease about the transparency of Sage decision-making. It has emerged that 16 of the 23 known members of the committee, which meets in secret, are employed by the government. The independent group will broadcast live on YouTube and take evidence from global experts. It aims to present the government with “robust, unbiased advice” and some evidence-based policies to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.” – Sunday Times

Doctor twins take DIY approach to safety with B&Q goggles

“As the NHS battles with PPE shortages, twin doctors who work in the same hospital unit have come up with a DIY solution: think creatively, even if it means goggles from B&Q. Emma and Ella Mi, 26, have been using £10 protective eyewear for 13-hour shifts as doctors in acute medicine since mid-March, after a visor shortage at their central London hospital. In a blog for Conservative Home, the political website, they urge NHS staff to use imagination and logic to keep themselves safe instead of relying on “gold standard” protection from the state. “Of course it’s the responsibility of our employers to provide us with safety equipment — but these are exceptional times”. – Sunday Times

UK hopes for £15bn boost to economy with start of US trade talks

“Britain will begin trade talks with America on Tuesday in an attempt to obtain greater leverage to use against the European Union in Brexit negotiations. Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, will hold opening exchanges with the US trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, via a video conference call. A total of 100 officials will join the call from both sides of the Atlantic, starting two weeks of negotiations in the first round. Further rounds will take place about every six weeks. The UK side will be led by Oliver Griffiths, overseen by Crawford Falconer, the UK’s chief trade negotiation adviser. Ministers believe a free trade deal could give a £15bn boost to the economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.” – Sunday Times


As public ‘would accept’ six-month Brexit extension, says Lidington

“The former Conservative MP told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster that the British public would not find an extension to the transition period unreasonable amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Lidington stated that British businesses could be seriously harmed by a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020 following the detrimental effect the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the economy. Mr Lidington said: “Both in London and in Brussels and in every European capital, talented officials are being taken off Brexit duty to go and work on COVID. “I’ve thought for some while, however much people don’t want it, both in Brussels and in London, they’ll come to the view that some kind of agreed extension is probably just inevitable.” – Sunday Express

  • No deal Brexit ‘could wreck Britain’s chance of leading battle to find coronavirus vaccine’ – Observer

MPs click at last with remote voting

“MPs are expected to make history next week by voting remotely after flaws were overcome in a new electronic system. The system has been undergoing trials and is set to be used for the first time when the immigration bill and the trade bill return to the floor of the House of Commons. Delays followed teething problems with the online system when parliament returned after the Easter recess. MPs using computers and laptops that had not been issued by the House of Commons were locked out of the system during trials last week. Changes have been made to enable them to vote using any type of kit, paving the way for the first vote next week.” – Sunday Times

  • Lords are too old to sit — ‘so they should stand down’ – Sunday Times
  • Last Victoria Cross hero before VE Day so brave even enemy marvelled – Lord Ashcroft