Newspaper headlines: 'Virus battle won by spring' as mass tests piloted

By BBC News

image copyrightMatthew Horwood

Several papers lead with the news that up to half a million people in Liverpool are to be tested for Covid-19 in the government's first attempt at city-wide mass testing, aimed at tracking down every case of the virus.

The Guardian says a variety of test types and the logistical skills of the Army will help to establish whether mass population screening is feasible across other regions of England.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the plan would offer a "route out of lockdown". It says 80% of those with Covid are asymptomatic and therefore spreading the virus silently - but experts believe weekly tests could halve the reproduction rate by quickly ensuring infected people isolate, while others resume their activities.

The i agrees that identifying people with the virus rapidly should break the chain of transmission. It reckons that if the pilot scheme in Liverpool is successful, the test offering a result within 15 minutes could be rolled out across England before Christmas.

According to the Independent, leaked NHS data has revealed that the number of patients admitted to hospitals in England with Covid has jumped by more than 60% in just 10 days. The number needing a ventilator is said to have increased by more than a half as hospitals across the North and the Midlands report higher levels of the disease than in the spring. The medical director of Liverpool University Hospitals Trust is said to have warned colleagues that services are now running at 100% capacity.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's efforts in the Commons to quell the anger felt by many Conservative MPs about England's new lockdown are given short shrift by many of the papers which - in normal times - he might expect to support him.

The Daily Mail accuses the prime minister of "duping the public" by "cherry-picking only the most blood-curdling statistics" to regulate "who we hug, whether we visit our parents, and where we eat and drink".

The Daily Telegraph and the Sun both ask why children are to be banned from playing sport outdoors - something they will be allowed to do at school.

There's some comfort for Mr Johnson in the Daily Express, though. Faced with the spectre of an overwhelmed NHS, it says he's decided there's no alternative to a second lockdown. It adds that his hope that the virus can be defeated by the spring should be taken in good faith.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionGuests left the Vienna State Opera under the watch of armed police

In Austria, there's shock that Vienna has been targeted in what's being treated as a co-ordinated terror attack.

Wiener Zeitung and Kronen Zeitung both speak of the multiple shootings "shaking" the capital.

They quote the interior minister, Karl Nehammer, saying: "This is the hardest day for Austria in many years."

One witness tells Kurier that a gunman entered a bar and opened fire on people gathered in the middle of it.

Oesterreich quotes a local rabbi saying people fled in panic into another bar pursued by at least one gunman, and the shooting continued.

For Die Presse, Vienna was never immune from an attack like those in Paris, London and Berlin. Like those, it says, the aim appears to have been to kill as many people as possible; the shooting was wild and indiscriminate.

On election day in the United States, the New York Times says the nation is watching anxiously as the presidential race comes to a "furious" end. As President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden barnstormed their way through battleground states, it says much of the country felt on edge, as if the often predicted "most important election of a lifetime" had finally arrived. Businesses were boarding up their windows in case of civil unrest and some governors were readying the National Guard, it says.

With both sides gearing up for legal battles over the results, the Wall Street Journal says many states are "steeling themselves for a drawn-out vote-counting process".

USA Today reports that most of the final opinion polls point to the race tightening, both nationally and in battleground states.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionMr Trump addressed a rescheduled campaign rally in Fayetteville Regional Airport, North Carolina

The Daily Telegraph speaks of the US being "braced for delay and violence".

According to the Sun, armed militia are standing by to take to the streets with assault rifles if there are signs of voting fraud affecting the result, as President Trump has suggested.

The Guardian says Americans are bracing for an election day unlike any other, shadowed by threats of manipulation and violence, "stoking fears that democracy itself is at stake".

The Financial Times suggests there could be "days or even weeks of uncertainty" about the final outcome result. And so, it says, even more than in recent elections, all eyes will be on the early results from Florida, the second largest battleground state.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionMr Biden made a last-minute campaign stop for a drive-in rally in Ohio

Back in the UK, the Sun reports that the £200m polar explorer ship, RSS Sir David Attenborough, was unable to leave port in Liverpool - because of a bit of a breeze. The vessel was built to withstand extreme conditions in Antarctica and the Arctic. But unsuitable weather in Merseyside meant a planned trip to Holyhead was called off. The Sun's headline: "Boaty McBoat Farce!"

Speculation about the future of actor Johnny Depp features widely after the actor lost his High Court libel battle with the Sun newspaper over an article that called him a "wife beater", claiming he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard. The judge found 12 of 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred. The Sun says the judgement "leaves his reputation in tatters" and his screen career "facing ruin".

The Times reports that campaigners against domestic violence are urging Hollywood studios not to offer the star further roles. It notes that Johnny Depp is due to appear in the third instalment of JK Rowling's Fantastic Beasts franchise - but that the writer, who has herself said she's been the victim of domestic abuse, has yet to comment.

The Daily Mirror tells the story of a man who has walked the 84-mile length of Hadrian's Wall, dressed only in a pair of skimpy swimming trunks and a Roman helmet, to raise money for charity. John Myatt traipsed from Newcastle to Bowness-on-Solway in just four days, in near zero temperatures and torrential rain.