Newspaper headlines: Warning over 'coronavirus panic buying' in UK

By BBC News

  • Published

Looking at coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Saturday's papers, the Daily Telegraph says ministers will encourage people to visit elderly relatives soon, before they are forced to isolate themselves if the situation worsens in the UK.

The Daily Mail leads on quotes from health officials, urging millions of people to ask their bosses if they can work from home.

And the Guardian runs claims that British universities could be left with a financial black hole running into the hundreds of millions if foreign students are forced to cancel or postpone enrolment.

Many of the back pages also look at the impact the worsening outbreak could have on sport, with the Sun claiming Premier League teams could lose more than £100m a month if games are played without spectators.

While the Mail says ministers are preparing to limit all sporting capacities to just 500 - a figure that would only cover staff and broadcasters at many events.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new funds in the fight against coronavirus during a trip to a laboratory in Bedfordshire

The Financial Times highlights government bonds reaching historic levels as investors move their money out of markets over fears of a global recession.

The paper quotes the fund manager Dickie Hodges, who compares the trend to panic-buying in supermarkets, describing traders' actions as "pure fear".

The Times interviews Peter Piot - the scientist who led efforts to fight Ebola and Aids. He claims that "we can safely say there are already a few people infected in the UK", and predicts that cases will peak at Easter - although he warns it could return in a more deadly form later in the year.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Juliet Samuel rejects the opinions of those downplaying of the severity of the outbreak, saying people's nonchalance and the traditional British "stiff upper lip behaviour" could place us at risk.

However, the Guardian's Simon Jenkins urges politicians to downplay what he calls their "war talk", saying "let them wash your hands, but not your brain".

The outbreak also forms the inspiration for artist Bob Moran's latest piece in the Telegraph. He depicts Chancellor Rishi Sunak staring forlornly at an airport departure board, with flights to "Budget Boomtown", "Boris Bounceville" and "Infrastructure Utopia" all delayed.

Elsewhere, the Times says it has learnt the Queen is to distance herself from the leader of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, following a court judgement that he orchestrated the kidnapping of two of his daughters.

The paper says she will refuse to be photographed with him in public - a move it claims could damage the relationship between the UK and the United Arab Emirates.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum frequently attends major horseracing events such as Royal Ascot

An editorial in the Mail calls the decision of an Oxford University student group to cancel an appearance by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd minutes before an event to mark International Women's Day "a dark day for debate".

Finally, many of the papers report on the news that bones found hidden in a church wall in Kent more than a century ago belong to an early English saint.

The Guardian says experts from Belfast's Queen's University have used radiocarbon dating to authenticate the remains of St Eanswythe - the granddaughter of King Ethelbert, who was the first English monarch to convert to Christianity.