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Sunday’s front pages are dominated by the news that month-long national lockdown measures will be imposed across England from Thursday.
The Observer describes the move as “an extraordinary U-turn” that comes amid accusations that government indecision “will cost lives and livelihoods across the country”.
Under the new measures, non-essential shops and venues, as well as pubs and restaurants, will be closed, the Observer reports. Schools, colleges and universities will remain open. The public will be told only to leave home for specific reasons, such as work if they cannot work from home, to shop for food and essentials, exercise, medical appointments or caring for the vulnerable.
The original furlough scheme under which the state paid 80% of workers’ wages will be extended for the duration of the new lockdown. It is “another major reversal”, the Observer says, and has angered regional leaders who have spent weeks pleading for extra support.
The Sunday Mirror also reports warnings that delays imposing a lockdown in England will cost both lives and jobs. The headline: “SHOCKDOWN”.
“Fears of ‘medical disaster’ forced the PM into new lockdown”, says the Sunday Times. The announcement came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK hit a grim milestone, the paper reports. More than a million people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since March.
“Lockdown sparks Tory civil war”, says the front page of the Mail on Sunday. Cabinet ministers and Tory MPs believe the new restrictions will further devastate the economy and are furious that they learned of the new measures through newspaper reports.
The Sunday Telegraph’s headline is “Four-week lockdown ‘to save NHS’ as millions face return to furlough”. The paper also carries reports of anger among Tory MPs. It features a comment piece from former conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, who describes the lockdown announcement as a “body blow to the British people” and accuses the prime minister of “giving in to the advice of his scientific advisers”.
The paper cites a warning from Johnson that the health service may not be able to cope unless the virus is halted.
The Independent asks: “What has taken Boris Johnson so long?” It points out that, more than one month ago, Sage recommended a circuit-breaker to slow the spread of the virus.
The Sunday Express has “Lockdown 2 to avoid disaster”, and reports the PM’s “plea to save the NHS and Christmas”. It says the sudden change of heart was needed to save the health service being overwhelmed.
The Scottish Mail on Sunday’s splash is “Shut down the border”, reporting Nicola Sturgeon’s move to close the border, with the warning that no one should travel from Scotland to other parts of the UK.
Source: The Guardian
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