Coronavirus 1) Public alarm ‘grows’ at plan for ‘Freedom Day’

“Boris Johnson faces a growing revolt over plans to end most Covid restrictions on 19 July – including the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in hospitals – as half of the public now say they want “Freedom Day” to be delayed. Last night, as doctors and other NHS workers demanded that mask-wearing continue in hospitals, regional political leaders broke ranks, saying they would override the national government on the issue and strongly advise people to continue wearing masks on public transport. Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, told the Observer that with Covid cases rising rapidly again, “Freedom Day” risked becoming “anxiety day” for huge numbers of vulnerable people, because the government was making unwise decisions.” – Observer

  • Third Covid wave could last until autumn with 100,000 daily cases – Sun on Sunday
  • UK Covid hospital admissions surge by more than half in a week – Sun on Sunday
  • CBI calls for early end to Covid self-isolation rules – FT
  • Civil servants must get back to offices, says ex-Boris Johnson aide – Sunday Telegraph

Coronavirus 2) Sajid Javid interview: Hospital waiting lists could top 13 million in months…

“The number of patients on hospital waiting lists could soar to 13 million over the coming months as a result of Covid-19 and successive lockdowns, the Health Secretary has warned. In his first interview since being appointed to the role, Sajid Javid told The Telegraph that “shocking” internal modelling showed that the current record number of 5.3 million patients waiting for treatment could more than double over the coming months. Mr Javid warned that the pandemic has worsened “non-Covid” health problems, as those who needed medical attention chose not to go to hospitals for fear of catching coronavirus or because of a “very British” attitude of not wanting to overburden NHS staff.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Javid says tax rise could be ‘practical and obvious’ solution to social care crisis – Sunday Telegraph

Coronavirus 3) …but wait between Covid vaccinations ‘could be cut to four weeks’

“The gap between coronavirus vaccine doses is set to be halved to four weeks to accelerate the administration of second jabs. No 10 officials have asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to provide urgent advice on reducing the dosing interval from eight weeks in the light of surging cases of the Delta variant and the imminent easing of lockdown restrictions. If the JCVI approves the reduction in the vaccine interval, it will open up the prospect of quarantine-free foreign travel in time for the school holidays for millions of people who will otherwise have to wait a further month until they have been double-vaccinated. The government is planning a publicity drive after a fall in demand for first doses, particularly among young men.” – Sunday Times

  • Pressuring young people to get vaccinated is ‘ludicrous’, warn MPs – Sunday Telegraph
  • NHS Covid app is scrubbed from phones to avoid ‘ping’ of self-isolation – Sunday Times
  • Al fresco dining to become the norm in Britain, Johnson says – Sunday Telegraph

Coronavirus 4) Dominic Lawson: Herd immunity, a policy that can’t be admitted

“We have been here before. Last week, after the announcement that all Covid-related mandatory social restrictions would be lifted on July 19, the prime minister’s official spokesman declared that “herd immunity is not in any way a government goal”. Of course it is. Whether it is ever achieved is another matter. But it was and remains the logic of the vaccination programme. Indeed, it had been the rationale of the government’s response to the arrival of the pandemic on these shores in the early months of last year. That too was vehemently denied — as soon as the policy changed from “managing” the spread of the virus through the population to “lockdown”, after Professor Neil Ferguson’s analysis suggested that a non-interventionist policy would lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths and NHS meltdown.” – Sunday Times

Coronavirus 5) Rod Liddle: You wonder if a certain derangement has taken hold of our citizens

“A recent opinion poll suggests that very nearly a fifth of British people want a 10pm curfew to be imposed every night after our, er, “Freedom Day” on July 19. Polls sometimes obscure more than they reveal. We do not know, for example, if this 19 per cent also want Chris Whitty to visit them at 10 o’clock, tuck them in and perhaps read them a bedtime story. Or if some of them think that a curfew does not go far enough and wish to be subjected to leather restraints, manacles and perhaps a gimp mask. …you wonder if a certain derangement has taken hold of many of our citizens — a kind of infantile craving to be regulated, told what to do, suppressed.” – Sunday Times

Gates ‘seeks to shame Johnson’ with foreign aid donation

“Some of the world’s richest philanthropists will today pledge nearly £100 million to plug the cuts to the UK government’s foreign aid budget. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation are among a consortium of charities that have agreed to provide emergency funding to save projects tackling preventable diseases and providing family planning. The decision to put money into projects that were being funded by the UK government before the controversial £4 billion cut to aid is aimed at embarrassing Boris Johnson. The philanthropists’ one-year funding plan was announced after a growing chorus of opposition to the planned cut in foreign aid from 0.7 per cent of national income, which is enshrined in law, to 0.5 per cent.” – Sunday Times


Labour demands resignation of No 10 ally accused of trying to block BBC appointment

“Labour is calling for the resignation of a BBC board member with close links to Downing Street after he was accused of trying to block an appointment on political grounds. The Financial Times reported that Sir Robbie Gibb, who was Theresa May’s communications director during her time as prime minister, cautioned the corporation against appointing Jess Brammar after she became the leading candidate to oversee the broadcaster’s news channels. Brammar, who has been employed by the corporation for much of her career, is a former deputy editor of BBC Newsnight and a former editor of HuffPost UK. The deputy Labour leader, Angela Rayner, led calls for Gibb’s resignation, saying he should be sacked if he refused to step down.” – Observer

  • BBC considers left-wing, anti-Brexit journalist for top news job – Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour to vote against Tory ‘hate speech’ bill – Observer
  • ‘I was groomed and sexually abused by MP let back into Labour by Corbyn’ – Sunday Times

Britain unlikely to strike trade deal with US before 2023, admits Truss

“A source close to Liz Truss said she was now “playing the long game”, with this week’s visit [to the US] intended to court prominent Democrats, as well as Silicon Valley tech giants that could benefit from a free trade deal with the UK. Ms Truss is understood to believe that a deal is now unlikely until after the US midterm elections, which are due to be held in November 2022. An official summary of a meeting between Boris Johnson and Joe Biden at last month’s G7 meeting in Cornwall simply stated that the pair had agreed only on “progression” towards a future free trade agreement”. – Sunday Telegraph

No 10 rejects claim PM objected to Obama as ambassador choice

“Downing Street has denied claims that the delay in the appointment to the US Ambassador to the UK is because the Prime Minister objected to Joe Biden’s first choice – Barack Obama. Foreign Office and Washington sources have told the Sunday Express the Biden administration had informally suggested the former US President but Boris Johnson does not want Mr Obama to fill the post. If true it would be the first known case of a potential US Ambassador to the UK appointment being objected to by the British government. There have been disagreements between Mr Obama and Mr Johnson since 2016 when he came on a visit to Britain during the EU referendum and claimed Britain would be “at the back of the queue” for trade deals.” – Sunday Express

  • Biden’s donors turn cool on UK ambassador job – Sunday Times

And finally, ahead of the big match, the Queen gives England team her support

The Queen has written to Gareth Southgate praising his England team for their “spirit, commitment and pride” and sent her “good wishes” in the hope the squad make history when they take on Italy at the Euro 2020 finals. Recalling how she presented Bobby Moore with the World Cup trophy amid jubilations at Wembley in 1966, she explains how she witnessed firsthand what victory really means for England players. The letter, sent from Windsor on Saturday night, explains how she hopes “history will record” the young team’s Euro 2020 triumph at Wembley as well as how they all conducted themselves in an exemplary manner throughout the tournament.” – Sunday Telegraph