The Papers: 'Trace against time' as thousands flock to beaches

Daily Mirror front page 21/05/20

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Many of Thursday’s front pages carry photos of people flocking to Britain’s beaches as the government set a 10-day target to track 10,000 new cases of coronavirus a day by June. “Trace against time,” the Daily Mirror calls it, as the paper says the busy scenes sparked “fears about mixing and spreading”.

The Daily Mail front page 21/05/20

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The Daily Mail says government advisers insist the virus tracing system must be in place before any restrictions can be lifted. Devon and Cornwall Police said roads in some resorts were gridlocked, despite the force asking families to stay away, the paper reports.

Daily Telegraph front page 21/05/20

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The Daily Telegraph says one of the country’s biggest teachers’ unions, the National Education Union, described the prime minister’s virus-tracing pledge as “real progress” but warned many English primary schools would still see their planned partial reopening on 1 June as premature.

The i front page 21/05/20

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With a slightly different angle, the i says Britons could be allowed to take breaks in the UK if there is no second spike in Covid-19 cases. It says No 10’s plan for easing the lockdown would see holiday homes, campsites and hotels reopen from the start of July.

Daily Express front page 21/05/20

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The Daily Express leads on reports that Health Secretary Matt Hancock is promising a new “war on obesity” after figures showed a link to coronavirus deaths. The paper says the prime minister is leading by example as it features a photo of him in workout gear.

The Times front page 21/05/20

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The Times splashes on the fall in hospital admissions for those with coronavirus. It says the figure has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since the start of the lockdown.

The Metro front page 21/05/20

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The Metro leads on the story of a Syrian refugee who is working on the frontline as a hospital cleaner. The paper says he “forced the government into an abrupt U-turn” after posting an emotional video message asking Boris Johnson not to throw his family out of the country if he died from Covid-19.

The Sun front page 21/05/20

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The Sun leads on a story about comedian Steve Coogan furloughing his gardener and housekeeper. “Knowing me, furloughing you, aha!” the paper puns, in reference to one of his most successful characters, Alan Partridge.

Financial Times front page 21/05/20

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The Financial Times reports the Bank of England is considering introducing negative interest rates for the first time in its 324-year history in a bid to help stimulate an economic recovery. The paper says doing so would be a “powerful signal” that companies should spend rather than face charges to hold money on deposit in banks.

The Daily Star front page 21/05/20

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“Call the frying squad,” says the Daily Star as it reports on a police officer being banned from every force in Britain after stealing seven fry-ups from the canteen in his first week of work.

The Guardian reports that either Boris Johnson or Matt Hancock is expected to announce later that NHS and social care staff are to get coronavirus antibody tests next week.

The blood tests will reveal if they have had the virus in the past.

The paper says the move is part of an attempt to “reduce the anxiety of frontline workers” and provide data on how many people have been infected.

But experts have told the Guardian that the tests could create a “false sense of security”, because while it is hoped the presence of antibodies reduces the risk of re-infection, the theory has not yet been proved.

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Getty Images

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A healthcare professional in Italy shows a test tube with blood for a serological test that can identify who has contracted Covid-19 and has produced antibodies

“Tories split as MPs are ordered back to distanced Commons,” is the headline in the Times, after the government ended virtual sittings of Parliament.

An unnamed Conservative MP is quoted describing the move as “absolutely ridiculous” because video conferencing had shown MPs could work from home in line with government advice.

But others within the Tory Party have reportedly called their colleagues “lazy” for not wanting to return to Westminster.

The paper also reveals the Commons looked at creating individual boxes for MPs to sit in, but the plan was dismissed because it would have required individuals to have their own supply of oxygen.

The Sun reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing a “major” rebellion within the Conservative Party over state support for self-employed workers.

It says “at least” 40 Tory MPs are willing to make a stand if Mr Sunak does not extend the current scheme beyond the end of the month.

The Conservative MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland, says that withdrawing support for freelancers would be a “betrayal” of those who voted for the Tories last year.

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The Daily Telegraph says a Lib Dem peer has been paid through the government’s job retention scheme.

It reports that Lord Fox furloughed himself from his strategic communications company, despite having access to £100,000 pounds in the firm’s account.

The Conservative MP, Robert Halfon, has accused the peer of “milking” the system, but Lord Fox said he had not been informed by HMRC that he was ineligible to apply.

“Zig-zagging Starmer had Keirleaders behind him looking bored,” is the Daily Mail’s take on the Labour leader’s latest duel against Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions.

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UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The paper’s sketchwriter, Henry Deedes, describes Sir Keir as “Le Grand Inquisitor”, but says his performance yesterday “fell flat” and it was a struggle at times to work out what he was actually asking.

The New Statesman says despite the “widespread consensus” that the prime minister’s recent weak performances were due to the lack of a supporting crowd behind him, the greater number of “cheers and heckles” this week made little difference.

And finally, the Times says the wreck of the Titanic is to be “sliced open by salvagers” – 108 years after history’s most famous iceberg tore open its hull.

Despite opposition from the US government, a judge in Virginia has granted permission for an expedition to recover the ship’s Marconi telegraph device.

The paper says it’s not known what the company plans to do with the radio, but suggests it could be headed for a Las Vegas casino complex, where the firm manages a Titanic exhibition.

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