Newspaper headlines: 'Lockdown lifeline' and 'two metre rule to be cut'

By BBC News

  • Published

The further easing of coronavirus restrictions makes several of the front pages, with the news that from Saturday people living alone in England will be able to stay at one other household.

"Crack open the bubbly!" exclaims the front of the Metro, "Singletons can hook up at last". "Children to be reunited with grandparents" is the headline in the Times, with a photo of a child and grandparent, separated by a window.

The Guardian's front page focuses on what it calls the "stark claim" from the former government scientific adviser, Professor Neil Ferguson, that thousands of lives could have been saved by an earlier lockdown.

He says deaths could have been halved by introducing the measures a week before. 

The front of the Financial Times also carries the story. "Johnson under fire over lockdown timing," it reads.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Single grandparents will be able to see their grandchildren under the relaxed rules

The Sun's leader column calls Professor Ferguson's comments "quite the confession", noting the irony of the same Sage scientists "who unanimously advised the government against an earlier lockdown" now saying it came too late.

"The mental gymnastics necessary to blame the Tories for doing both too little and too much, too fast and too slow," it argues, "would win gold at every Olympics."

The author, JK Rowling, also features on several front pages, as she "reveals sex assault and marital abuse", according to the the Times headline.

The Daily Mail carries an image of a young JK Rowling, alongside her first husband, with whom she says she had a "violent" marriage.

The Harry Potter author has posted an essay on her own website, in which she responds to trans activists, who objected to her recent comments that people's biological sex matters.

In what the the Mail called a "deeply personal and compelling defence of women's rights", Ms Rowling argues: "When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he's a woman... then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside."

The Financial Times hints at a possible chink of light in the Brexit trade talks. Its headline says the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is "ready" to compromise with the UK.

It says he's indicated he's prepared to review the nature of the EU's "level playing field" demands - which would require the UK to continue to follow some of Brussels' rules - as long as Boris Johnson honours the "political declaration" agreed with EU leaders last year.

The Guardian has a front page photo of the conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, with a warning the pandemic "may devastate classical music".

The head of the London Symphony Orchestra calls for clarity on when concerts with a live audience can begin again.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Young Orchestra for London at the South Bank

In a joint letter with Sir Mark Elder from the Hallé Orchestra, he says "orchestras may not survive, and if they do, they may face insuperable obstacles to remain solvent in our new reality".

Premiership rugby players also face uncertainty, according to the Express, with its back-page headline reporting a "rugby wage war".

It says "civil war has erupted" in rugby league, with the players' union threatening strikes over what they call a "totally unacceptable" bid by clubs to make temporary pay cuts permanent.

It quotes the London Irish owner Mick Crossan saying players have "to get real - you just can't afford to keep running a business that's losing £3m to £5m a year".