Newspaper headlines: 'Tougher lockdown' warning and protect medics call

By BBC News

  • Published
Boris JohnsonImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mr Johnson is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19

Many of the front pages highlight the letter written by Boris Johnson - to be sent to every household in the country this week - warning that the coronavirus crisis will get worse before it gets better.

The Observer describes the message as "stark", while the Sunday Express says the "bleak" letter emphasises that the UK is facing a national emergency.

According to the Sun on Sunday it is the first time in decades that a prime minister has written to every household to seek their help in defeating a common enemy.

The Sunday Times focuses on comments by a leading government adviser who has warned that Britain must remain in full lockdown until June to avoid the worst effects of the pandemic.

Prof Neil Ferguson says he believes "May is optimistic" for the current restrictions to be lifted - and suggests that when they are, "people would probably still be asked to enforce some social distancing for months more".

The paper says cabinet sources have indicated that two criteria would have to be met before the government ends the lockdown - "the number of new cases must be stable or falling and the critical care capacity of NHS hospitals must not be exceeded".

The front page of the Mail on Sunday claims allies of Boris Johnson have "turned on China" over the crisis, arguing Beijing's behaviour during the pandemic will eventually result in a "reckoning" in relations.

Ministers and senior Downing Street officials are said to be "furious" over what the Mail describes as "China's campaign of misinformation, attempts to exploit the situation for economic gain, and atrocious animal rights record".

Writing in the paper, the former Conservative leader, Iain Duncan-Smith, says nations have "lamely kow-towed" to China for too long and once we get clear of the pandemic, "it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship".

Many of the papers feature personal stories of some of those in the frontline of the fight against the virus. Saleyha Ahsan - who is an A&E doctor in Bangor, north Wales - has told the Sunday Mirror it is the scariest place she has ever worked.

She previously saw conflict in Syria as an army captain but says "right now is when I've felt the most afraid".

"It's because this is home. There's no plane out of here," she tells the paper.

An anonymous doctor working at a hospital in London has kept a diary of their week for the Mail on Sunday. They describe the "never-ending flood" of patients and say they are "forced to play God" due to the "frightening shortage" of equipment.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Derbyshire Police said people had been gathering at the Blue Lagoon in "contravention of the current instruction of the UK government"

Finally, the Sunday Times suggests the enforcement of social distancing "sank to new depths" when police poured black dye into the water at a beauty spot to make it look less appealing.

The paper says Derbyshire Police acted after receiving reports of people breaking the virus restrictions by gathering in bright sunshine at the Blue Lagoon in Buxton - prompting officers to decide it should become the murky, black lagoon for the duration of the lockdown.