Newspaper headlines: Jab complacency fears and smart motorway inquest

By BBC News


The Daily Telegraph leads with a warning from scientists, that millions of people could start ignoring coronavirus restrictions, once they've had their first jab.

It says the government's being urged to begin a new public campaign, to make clear that measures such as social distancing still need to be observed.

The paper's opinion column argues that, as the mass vaccination progresses, "the itch to resume life and work will become even stronger".

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The Daily Express takes up that theme, admitting in its leader that it is tempting to look beyond the pandemic.

Some people are already booking holidays, it says, while others have their eyes on what the paper calls "the roaring twenties" - which they hope will begin as the crisis recedes.

But it concludes that people should stand firm because "we're still living through the worst of it".

On the front of the Sun there is a large, heart-shaped graphic with the headline "50,000 thank yous". It is a message to the readers who've responded to its "Jabs Army" appeal - for people to help with the Covid vaccination programme.

According to the Times, vaccinations are to be diverted to people over-80 in "blackspots". It explains that, with parts of the UK inoculating the oldest age group at different speeds, supplies will be prioritised in areas making slower progress.

One, in Devon, is quoted saying: "When I heard that the prime minister's father had been vaccinated, I knew something in the distribution was wrong. Mum was serving in the armed forces during World War Two, when Stanley Johnson was born."

Another says the announcement that the over-70s had started being inoculated made her 94-year-old mother's wait "even more frustrating".

Its headline says so-called smart motorways have been "condemned as death traps".

"Was there ever a more absurd misnomer?" asks the paper's opinion column. It concludes the system has failed in its aim of easing congestion without compromising safety.

In a letter to the Financial Times, the leader of the Trades Union Congress, Frances O'Grady, warns the government against watering down workers' rights, in the wake of Brexit.

She says that such a move - rumours of which have been denied by the government - would be "no boon to business or the economy", and would be more likely to cause damage.

The Daily Mirror considers Monday night's Commons vote in which six Conservative MPs supported a Labour motion, calling for an increase in Universal Credit payments to be extended beyond the end of March.

The paper argues that, to support less well-off households hit hard by the pandemic, Boris Johnson must now make the larger payments permanent.

It calls for a "coherent plan to get Britain moving again, whilst also repairing the black hole in our public finances" and accuses Labour of seeking to "weaponise the poor for political advantage".

The Guardian suggests that the use of electric cars could soon be revolutionised after an Israeli firm developed a battery that can be fully charged in five minutes.

The first prototypes have been made, and the project is backed by firms including Daimler, BP and Samsung.

Finally, the Times reports on Colonel Christopher Rigby who was "the only Englishman in Zanzibar" 160 years ago.

It says journals he kept while serving as British consul on the east African island territory have recently been discovered and reveal that much of his time was spent fighting the slave trade, and "keeping warring sultans at bay".

The Times seems most interested in how he fuelled these noble deeds: "Preserved horseradish and cheeses from Fortnum and Mason - as well as a few cases of beer".