BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Rule of six months' and second lockdown warning

By BBC News


Boris Johnson's address to the nation on Tuesday - and to Parliament earlier in the day - is the lead for all of Wednesday's front pages.

The Mail says he unveiled a "draconian" package of restrictions on normal life that will last six months - wrecking hopes of a traditional Christmas.

The paper says it accepts the tough new controls grudgingly. It worries about what it calls the "painful blow" to the economy, triggering business closures and job losses.

It also complains that the prime minister has torn up "back to work" orders, and says the early closures for pubs and restaurants means that we have gone from the recovery-stoking "Eat Out to Help Out" to "Kick Out to Help Out".

The Sun claims without a vaccine or mass instant testing - or both - we are doomed to repeat this cycle of suppressing, relaxing and suppressing forever.

It's not feasible for our lives or the economy, it warns. We may instead have to protect our most vulnerable and find a way to live with Covid, it suggests.

image captionBoris Johnson giving his address

For the Star, the "new Covid master plan" - as the paper calls the new measures - was the exact opposite of the last one, when Mr Johnson urged people to go back to work and said Christmas wasn't cancelled.

The Financial Times says that although the prime minister stopped short of more draconian measures - such as a two-week national lockdown - the new restrictions will have a profound impact on many businesses in England.

For the Mirror, he took a big punt on imposing some curbs in England, without going as far as other parts of the UK have done.

According to the Guardian, Mr Johnson appeared to suggest that "freedom-loving" Britons would be to blame if stricter restrictions were applied.

The Telegraph says the prime minister's warning that the Army could be drafted in to take over some police duties, was seen as a signal to police that they weren't doing a good job of enforcing the rules - and led to a row with senior officers who said they didn't need help.

The Times reports that Prof Chris Whitty, the UK government's chief medical adviser, has told Mr Johnson that England is likely to have to follow Scotland in imposing a ban on visiting between households.

According to the paper, Prof Whitty is understood to believe that further restrictions are inevitable, and that measures including early closing for pubs and restaurants will not bring the epidemic under control.

Sources from business and industry have told the Guardian that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is weighing plans to replace the furlough scheme with German-style wage subsidies as part of a wider support package to help businesses.

Under the proposals, the paper says, companies would pay staff for the time they are at work, while the Treasury would cover part of their wages for time when they have no work.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionPubs and restaurants in England must close at 22:00 BST from Thursday

Finally, the papers welcome the new series of Bake Off - what the Times calls TV's sweetest treat - and many see it as the perfect antidote to 2020.

For the i, with the news that we might be inside for a long while yet, it's a joy to have this show back for an hour each week.

In the words of the Mail's Jan Moir, there's comfort aplenty in the cinnamon-scented warmth of the familiar.

As we worry about the lives in hold - she says - the home front seems even more important ... even if the cherry is off the pineapple upside down cake.