The Guardian leads with a warning from scientists and public health directors that more local lockdowns could be on the way, after restrictions were tightened again in Leicester following a rise in coronavirus cases. Bars and restaurants in the rest of England are preparing to reopen on Saturday – but parts of Kent, London, north Wales and Scotland are still dealing with significant Covid-19 outbreaks, according to the paper.
Meanwhile, the Metro reports that the mayor of Leicester is facing calls to resign after breaking lockdown in April and May when he spent several nights at his girlfriend’s home. Sir Peter Soulsby, who was spoken to by police about the visits, has previously apologised for what he described as “an error of judgement”.
“Bog roll bandits are back”, is the front page for the Daily Star. The paper says hoarding loo roll is “back on the agenda” in Leicester as it becomes the first city to enter a local lockdown.
The Daily Telegraph says Public Health England’s future has been “thrown into doubt” after the prime minister suggested parts of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis had been “sluggish”.
The i leads on Mr Johnson’s plans for the UK’s economic recovery, describing his proposals as the “biggest change to planning laws” since World War Two. Under the plans, vacant shops can be converted into houses without needing planning permission and reforms will make brownfield development easier, the paper reports.
However, unions are warning the £5bn plan is not enough to prevent a mass job losses, according to the Daily Mirror. It comes as EasyJet and Airbus announced thousands of the job cuts, the paper reports.
The Times leads on comments from the Bank of England’s chief economist, who says the UK is on track for a V-shaped recovery as the economy rebounds from the lockdown far faster than expected. Andy Haldane said the country was already two months into the recovery and the depth of the coronavirus recession was likely to be less than half as bad as the Bank had feared in May, the paper reports.
The Daily Express reports that the NHS has secured a deal with a US firm for a “wonder drug” for cystic fibrosis, which will save thousands of lives. Health Secretary Matt Hancock was in tears as he told the paper that Kaftrio will be available on the NHS, it reports.
The Daily Mail focuses on the criminal inquiry which has been launched into what it described as “Britain’s biggest maternity scandal”. Detectives will investigate failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, where dozens of babies died or suffered brain damage, the paper reports.
A sweeping national security law passed by China for Hong Kong has drawn condemnation from the US and Europe, the Financial Times reports. The new legislation will tighten Beijing’s grip on the territory, which is meant to have a high level of self-autonomy under the conditions of its handover from British rule back to China in 1997, the paper says.
The Guardian leads with a warning that more local lockdowns could be on the way, after restrictions were tightened again in Leicester.It carries comments from virologist Prof Deenan Pillay, as its front page reminds readers that the crisis is still very much ongoing.The paper says with parts of Kent, London, Scotland and North Wales still reporting significant Covid-19 outbreaks, Prof Pillay is “expecting there to be a number of Leicesters” in the weeks to come. The Daily Mirror agrees. “It won’t be the last” is its take on the city’s local lockdown. The paper’s coverage includes reporting from the Leicester Mercury. Local man Steve Holman gives his view: “It’s a lesson for those who didn’t heed the advice. A lot of good work is being undone by people’s irresponsibility.” The Sun’s leader is sympathetic but unbending. “Our hearts go out to the people and businesses of Leicester”, it says, “but there is no question it had to happen, and it should stand as a warning as we approach our big liberation on Saturday”.
Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/EPA
Many of the papers feature prominent pictures of Boris Johnson clad in high-vis jacket and hard hat to announce his post-Covid recovery plans.”Biggest Change to Planning Laws Since the War” is the i’s headline. “Bodge the Builder” is the Daily Mirror’s view. Alongside coverage of relaxed rules for loft conversions and turning vacant shops into homes, both papers report critics’ warnings that the £5bn of accelerated spending is too little to save jobs. Online, the Independent’s headline predicts a day of reckoning to come: “PM lays the foundation for tax increases” is its assessment. “We’ll slash red tape to speed Covid fightback” is the up-sum of the Daily Express on Mr Johnson’s strategy. At the same time, its front page details jobs being cut at firms such as EasyJet and Airbus in what it labels a “UK jobs bloodbath”.
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Protesters took part in months of demonstrations in Hong Kong last year
International reaction to China introducing a controversial new security law on Hong Kong makes the lead for the Financial Times – “US and Europe condemn Beijing for tightening grip on Hong Kong” is its headline. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the former Conservative party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, describes the move as “a Tiananmen Square moment for the free world”. He says the law introduces a raft of vague and draconian charges in direct contravention of international declarations and covenants. He argues that the UK, who underwrote the future of the territory’s people 25 years ago when it was handed back to China, has a duty now to act – launching a rescue mission for all who want to leave.
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“Police to probe UK’s worst baby wards scandal” tops the Daily Mail’s front page – the headline underscored by photographs of three infants who died shortly after delivery at hospitals in the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Finally, the Daily Mirror brings a tale of hope for all owners of wandering cats. Bank manager Vicky Swainson from Leeds has recently been reunited with her pet Gucci – last seen leaping out of a window as her family moved house when she was a teenager 12 years ago. Vicky, now 31, said she was shocked to get a call from a vet earlier this month after the cat’s microchip had been read.Gucci may be rueing his wandering ways though. His digs are now with Vicky’s dad – she got another cat in the meantime.
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