Newspaper headlines: Queen's 'stirring message' as PM offers 'hope'

By BBC News

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe Queen has cut short her official duties because of the outbreak and is now at Windsor Castle with the Duke of Edinburgh

Photographs of the Queen feature prominently, taken on the day she issued what the Daily Mirror describes as a "rallying cry to the nation" as it tries to tackle the coronavirus.

The paper highlights what it sees as the core message of her statement - that the country's history has always been forged by "us coming together as one".

For the Daily Express, it was a "stirring message", while the Mail backs the monarch's promise to play her part, describing it as a "Blitz spirit pledge".

"We can turn the tide in 12 weeks," runs the main headline in the Metro, which focuses on Boris Johnson's assertion that the virus can be "sent packing" - but only if people observe what the Mail describes as the "extraordinary restrictions" designed to slow its spread.

Writing for the Spectator, Isabel Hardman notes that the prime minister does tend to "err on the side of optimism".

She says it is not clear whether he was basing his assertion on scientific evidence or simply hoped his upbeat tone would encourage the public to stick to the government advice, knowing there could be an end in sight.

image copyrightEPA
image captionThe prime minister urged people to follow government guidance on social distancing

The Times focuses on the package of tax cuts and wage subsidies for workers struggling with the economic impact of the virus expected to be unveiled today.

It quotes a source as saying the government could, in effect, underwrite 60% of the average national wage for each worker.

The Guardian says the aim is to prevent "hundreds of thousands of layoffs"; the Daily Telegraph believes it could be the state's biggest intervention in the economy since World War Two.

A photograph in the Financial Times shows a deserted Times Square in Manhattan - a visual illustration of what it says are the growing strains being experienced by the wider US economy in the face of the health crisis.

The New York Times reports that a simulated US government exercise last year - which imagined an influenza pandemic beginning in China - highlighted how "underprepared" the US would be for such a scenario.

There is better news from China itself, which has celebrated a day without any new coronavirus cases among its population. The Independent website shows two medical workers embracing in Wuhan - under the headline: "A Glimmer of Hope?"

image copyrightReuters
image captionChina confirmed it had no new domestic cases on Wednesday for the first time since the outbreak began

The Guardian reports that efforts are under way to develop a UK vaccine for the coronavirus within months. It says Oxford University researchers are planning a small scale trial on humans next month - with animal trials due to start at the Public Health England laboratory at Porton Down next week.

Finally, dozens of regional newspapers - ranging from the Oxford Mail to the Sunderland Echo - collaborate to publish the same front page, urging communities to pull together and insisting that in "the worst of times, the very best in people comes to the fore".

The newspapers have a single message to their readers: "Together we will defeat coronavirus and emerge from it stronger and more resilient than before".