Newspaper headlines: Coronavirus 'care homes catastrophe' and 'stick with lockdown'

By BBC News

Stock image of a woman in a care home corridorImage source, Getty Images

On a day when millions of people would normally be returning to work after the Easter break, the Daily Express tells us "we must all stay put" as the battle rages to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lockdown for three more weeks," is the headline in the Times. The paper says senior ministers are split, however, over the "stay at home" message, as evidence of the economic, social and health costs of the restrictions mounts.

The Daily Telegraph claims the cabinet has been banned from talk of an "exit strategy", as ministers try to ease public fears about an eventual end to the lockdown by moving towards a "gradual unwinding of social distancing rules".

The paper says the government has been "so successful" in convincing people of the need to stay at home that there are concerns it could prove difficult to persuade them to return to work once the decision is taken to relax current restrictions.

The Daily Mail says the scale of the coronavirus "catastrophe" unfolding in Britain's care homes has been "dramatically laid bare", after it was revealed more than 13% of them have now had outbreaks.

In its editorial, the Mail backs calls for a minister to be appointed with responsibility for the welfare of residents in nursing homes. It believes the mounting death toll in the UK's care sector - and the lack of protection given to staff - is shaping up to be the great hidden tragedy of the Covid-19 crisis.

Alongside the headline, "no more", the front of the Daily Mirror is filled with the faces of 35 health and social care workers who have died with the virus.

They gave their lives, the paper says, now the government must give all health and care workers the protective kit they need to be safe.

The Times calls for a great national effort to ensure that health and social care workers have the necessary protective kit to fight the virus. The truth is the health service is not "unconquerable", the paper says - and the ability of the NHS to win the battle depends on staff having access to appropriate equipment.

The Guardian, in its lead story, describes how Britain missed three chances to join an EU scheme to bulk-buy masks, gowns and gloves and has been absent from key talks about future purchases.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes masks, gloves and other clothing to stop the spread of coronavirus

The paper quotes a European Commission spokesman as saying the EU's swift work has led to offers of medical equipment in excess of the number requested.

"Stick with the lockdown," is the headline in the Metro. But, despite all the warnings, the paper says there are still a few people who "simply don't get it".

Robert Shrimsley writes in the Financial Times that he believes the prime minister's illness has made him politically stronger.

He points out that since the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson has made himself an ally of the NHS.

Now, with his heartfelt praise for the organisation which "saved his life", a Tory leader has made himself high priest of the institution, described as the UK's national religion.

The Financial Times reports that none of the new mechanical ventilators developed for treating coronavirus patients has obtained UK regulatory approval, a month after the government issued a rallying cry for British industry to help plug a shortage of the devices.

The FT says the delays appear to be linked to the changing clinical understanding of how to best treat the disease - amid disagreements within the medical profession about when to deploy invasive ventilation for patients.

The Sun, meanwhile, demands an end to the pensions triple-lock to help meet the spiralling cost of the pandemic. It believes thousands of beneficiaries are middle-class millionaires who do not have mortgages to pay - and that it is only right they chip in to the eye-watering coronavirus bill.

Image source, REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

The Times reports that roads in built-up areas may be converted into car-free zones to create extra space for cyclists and joggers during the lockdown. It says councils in cities including London, Manchester and Brighton were among the first to draw up proposals to convert roads into temporary bike lanes, following similar measures in other countries.

The Daily Telegraph says police are advising the public to confront people guilty of "one-off" breaches of lockdown rules - rather than report them.

The paper says the move follows claims that some forces have been inundated with calls about people flouting the restrictions, with many involving minor breaches such as neighbours going on two runs in a day.

The Sun describes how police in Hull allowed a street party to continue because everyone was obeying social distancing guidelines. Pictures from the scene show residents enjoying a drink in their front gardens while the man who organised the party played dance music from turntables outside his home.