Newspaper headlines: 'Shut down' cities warning as UK coronavirus cases jump

By BBC News

  • Published

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak features heavily on Monday's newspaper front pages.

"Find the hidden virus carriers" is the headline in the Daily Mail, which says UK health officials are desperately trying to locate those who are unwittingly spreading the coronavirus.

The paper adds: "At last, Boris stung into action", as it reports on the prime minister's plan to chair his first Cobra meeting on the coronavirus.

The paper says that criticism of his decision to delegate the management of the crisis to the health secretary has been mounting - prompting Mr Johnson to break cover yesterday and don a yellow biohazard suit during a visit to Public Health England's laboratory in north-west London.

Image source, PA Media
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The PM visited the Public Health England National Infection Service after UK cases rose to 36

The recent developments - with the number of UK cases now totalling 36 - lead the Guardian to suggest the country is "edging closer to the point where containment becomes impossible".

In its coverage, the Daily Telegraph reveals Downing Street and the Department of Health are involved in a row about whether Britain will retain membership of an EU pandemic warning system, previously used to stem the SARS and bird flu outbreaks.

According to the Telegraph, the government's trade negotiators do not want to do anything which risks giving Brussels leverage to demand alignment with EU rules.

Image source, PA Media
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said no tactics to fight the virus would be "off the table"

The outbreak is also creating a potential headache for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The Times reports the Office for Budget Responsibility is expected to revise its economic forecasts because of falling stock markets - leaving Mr Sunak guessing as he plots his first budget.

Floods heartbreak

The misery caused by flooding is summed up in one picture which appears in several of the papers.

It shows a bungalow in Snaith in East Yorkshire being engulfed by the River Aire - only the roof, which is bedecked with solar panels, is clear of the water.

Image source, Getty Images
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Severe flooding has devastated homes across the country, including in Snaith, East Yorkshire

The owners tell the Express they are heartbroken because the property will need to be demolished.

The Daily Mail says that anger at the prime minister's failure to visit the flooded areas is growing - and in an editorial the paper urges him to "put on his wellies".

Meanwhile, the papers give a mixed response to the dramatic resignation of the Home Office's top civil servant, Sir Philip Rutnam - amid claims the Home Secretary Priti Patel, has bullied staff.

"Good riddance" says the Sun - accusing Sir Philip of turning on Ms Patel who, it says, is determined to deliver big changes to the immigration system.

Image source, Getty Images/BBC
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Tensions had been reported between Priti Patel and Sir Philip Rutnam

For the Times though, the episode raises "troubling questions for the government about its approach".

It urges ministers to work with civil servants and existing institutions rather than waste energy trying to overthrow them all at once.

The Daily Mirror leads with an investigation into what it calls the "probation scandal".

Using a Freedom of Information Act request, it has analysed the performance of probation firms in the six years since the system was part-privatised by the then-Conservative Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

It found a total of 309 people had been murdered by criminals monitored by the private firms - far outnumbering the 196 killed by those managed by the National Probation Service.

The paper notes the private companies manage about 150,000 medium and low-risk offenders, while the publicly run service is responsible for 106,000 high-risk criminals.

The Ministry of Justice says it is bringing all offender management back under the public sector's probation service from December.

Troops in Mali

The Telegraph reports that Britain is sending 250 troops to northern Mali in west Africa to spearhead the UN's fight against the world's fastest growing Islamist insurgency.

The paper describes the deployment as the UK's first significant return to an active war zone for more than five years.

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Nigeria Special Forces practising marksmanship skills under the direction of British troops

Meanwhile, the Financial Times says a British project which was once hailed as a "totem" of post-Brexit Britain has lost its way.

It says the plan for a new sovereign satellite navigation system has been delayed for at least six months.

The FT puts this down to disagreements about scope and spiralling costs.

Wine surplus

According to the Times, there are 70,000 bottles of wine in the cellar of a prestigious Chateau in Bordeaux, which nobody seems to want to drink.

It reports that French winemakers are struggling in the face of US tariffs, a slowing Chinese market, the disruption caused by the coronavirus and an unprecedented supply of grapes in California.

That is creating pressure for a big cut in prices to avoid a collapse in sales.

And finally, the Daily Mail has the story of a DIY novice from Hampshire who relied on YouTube to build a dream five-bedroom house.

It says Graham Harley, an IT worker, managed to build the property in Ringwood for just £140,000 pounds, with the help of the video tutorials.

The only drawback was the project took 10 years to complete. Asked whether he would do it again, he tells the paper he could not put his family through it.