BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Change of strategy looms' for UK as France locks down

By BBC News

image copyrightEPA
image captionA second national lockdown has been announced in France

With a new national lockdown announced in France, a number of the front pages consider whether the UK should follow.

"Don't do it Boris" is the headline in the Daily Mail. The paper claims a second shutdown would wreak "economic carnage" and devastate thousands of businesses.

The Daily Telegraph says senior Tories are continuing to urge the prime minister to "protect the economy" rather than follow Europe's lead.

But the i newspaper thinks a "change in strategy looms". Referring to the latest figures suggesting almost 100,000 are being infected each day, the paper says it is clear the virus is "picking up speed" - and pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to take action.

The Financial Times agrees the "picture is darkening" for the UK as the surge in cases across Europe hits the financial markets.

A microbiologist, who advises the EU, tells the paper the increase in infections is "staggering" - and the whole of Europe is now "paying a high price" for relaxing restrictions too much over the summer.

The Guardian reports that the government is accelerating its plans for a so-called "moonshot" mass testing programme - as it tries to find an alternative to new national restrictions.

According to the paper, up to 10% of England's population could be tested for coronavirus each week using rapid 30-minute kits.

In a letter seen by the paper, government officials at NHS Test and Trace say they are embarking on an "important new front" in the fight against the virus, and are urging directors of public health across the country to sign up to the programme.

Local health chiefs say they have serious concerns about the costs and logistical challenges of administering thousands of tests every day.

Many of the front pages carry photos of the Kurdish-Iranian family who died attempting to cross the English Channel on Tuesday.

Fifteen-month-old Artin Panahi - who remains missing, presumed dead - is pictured in a final photo, waving and smiling at the camera.

Charities have told the Independent the deaths of more migrants are "inevitable" this winter - unless France and the UK introduce a safe, legal route into Britain.

The paper says the government's current approach is forcing migrants to attempt the perilous journey - despite worsening conditions at sea.

image copyrightFamily handout
image captionFifteen-month-old Artin is still missing

Returning to coronavirus, the Times leads on possible progress in the hunt for a vaccine. The paper says a German jab, backed by the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, could be ready to distribute to the elderly and vulnerable by Christmas.

Final trial results are expected "within weeks" - and the UK has already bought enough doses to vaccinate 20 million people. According to the paper, senior government sources now expect a definitive verdict on the Pfizer jab will come first - with results for the competing Oxford vaccine following in the New Year.

And the Sun turns its attention to the festive season - and Wednesday's warning from police chiefs that they will break up family gatherings which break the rules.

"Don't let killjoys ruin Christmas", says the paper, which has the support of the former Conservative leader, Iain Duncan Smith. Agreeing the approach is too heavy-handed, he tells the paper the idea of police officers interrupting your Christmas dinner is "utter nonsense".