Newspaper headlines: 'Menu of options' to fight 'killer bug'

By BBC News


Several sketchwriters in today's papers have taken a clear liking to the man leading the charge against coronavirus: the UK's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty.

Quentin Letts of the Times views him as "just a bit of a star": the "mild-mannered Englishman" needed in every disaster epic, who "calmly" and modestly explained the facts to the House of Commons health committee. For the Guardian's John Crace, he's "the country's de facto prime minister". Crace praises Prof Whitty's "command of his subject and ability to communicate it".

The Independent online says regulators have told healthcare workers they will be allowed to break normal rules on patient treatment to meet the "highly challenging" coronavirus outbreak. It says the move seeks to reassure NHS staff that they won't be sanctioned for acting outside of normal procedures - including delaying patients who would normally be admitted to hospital.

The San Francisco Chronicle features dramatic images of a National Guard helicopter dropping off virus testing kits to a cruise liner that's been held off the California coast with more than 140 British passengers on board.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
A cleaner sanitises an empty classroom in Turin

The i suggests the closure of schools in Italy because of the outbreak has plunged the country into a "childcare crisis". It says working parents are struggling to cope, as they're reluctant to rely on grandparents to look after their children because of "fears about exposing the elderly to possible infection".

According to the Daily Mail, UK officials are said to be considering advising against all travel to Italy.

HuffPost reports that US President Donald Trump used a Fox News interview to suggest that many people with mild symptoms "could still go to work and get better" - defying the advice from medical professionals that patients should self-isolate. The Daily Mail says President Trump later took to Twitter to deny making such a remark.

Image source, Getty Images

The papers have their first chance to react to the collapse of Flybe - and the finger-pointing has begun.

For the i, it was "the result of years of poor management, poor government policy and the greed" of the airline's rivals. The Sun describes the carrier as "operating on a wing and a prayer" and says it was right that the taxpayer was not relied upon to rescue it. The Financial Times agrees; adding that the government should give "short shrift" to other firms that seek bailouts when the coronavirus pushes them to the brink.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Queen Elizabeth and Sheikh Mohammed (file photo)

The Guardian suggests that "ministers, police and prosecutors are under pressure" to take action against Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, after the High Court ruled that he orchestrated the abduction of his two daughters - "one from the streets of Cambridge".

The Times points out that the case highlighted "extraordinary claims about some of the region's most powerful families" and "could cause significant diplomatic difficulties with Britain's allies in the Middle East". For the Financial Times, it's "embarrassing for the man who has overseen Dubai's development into the area's trade hub".

Sheikh Mohammed's legal team has rejected the claims against him and insists the court heard only one side of the story.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said by the Times and Financial Times to be facing his first Commons rebellion next week over his decision to allow Huawei to play a role in the UK's 5G network. A group of senior Conservatives - including the former Cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis - are said to be seeking legislation to ban the use of all Huawei equipment after 2022.

And it's "one giant leaf for mankind", according to the Sun: lettuce has been successfully grown in space. The salad crops, cultivated on the International Space Station, were found to be free of disease and even more nutritious than ones grown on Earth. The paper suggests it's the "tip of the iceberg" for finding foods to fuel manned missions to Mars.