Newspaper headlines: Call to tighten borders and PM 'puts faith in Oxford-AstraZeneca jab'

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Travellers arriving at London's Heathrow airport, February 2021Image source, EPA

The prime minister is facing renewed calls from scientists and senior MPs to introduce sweeping border curbs, according to the Guardian's main story.

That's because of concern about new coronavirus variants being imported from other countries.

The paper gives details of likely new restrictions - explaining that all passengers will be tested for covid on the second and eighth day of their isolation, regardless of where they've come from and where they're quarantining.

The Express gives a sense of the pressure the government's under to act. It claims that travellers from South Africa - where one of the variants originated - are arriving unchecked at British airports after boarding flights in third countries.

Its headline lambasts the lack of checks as a "disgrace". The Department of Health says it has one of the "toughest border regimes in the world".

The call for over-70s in England to come forward to get their first Covid jab if they haven't already had one makes the lead for the i and the Daily Mirror. "Time to call the shots" is the Mirror's headline.

A warning from Defence Secretary Ben Wallace of the growing risk of chemical and biological attack makes the front of the Times.

He says the internet has given the threat a "turbo boost" because it has enabled terror groups and nation states to research such weapons.

His comments receive the backing of a senior scientist at the military defence laboratory in Porton Down, who highlights the danger posed by bio-engineering.

The Telegraph reports that Brussels is set to disappoint ministers seeking a concession on the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The government has called for a two-year extension of the post-Brexit grace period - reducing red tape on supermarket goods, chilled meats, parcels and medicines.

But the paper says it's been told by Whitehall and EU sources that the European Commission is likely to agree to only a three- to six-month extension.

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Samira Ahmed is the front-runner to replace John Humphrys as the new host of Mastermind, the Telegraph reports

The Mail has extensive coverage of a row about a decision to rename a professorship of physics at Oxford University after a Chinese software company.

The paper says the firm - Tencent - has been accused of having close links with the communist regime's intelligence services.

The name change is said to have come about after the company donated £700,000 to the university.

Lord Patten, Oxford's chancellor and the last British governor of Hong Kong, told the Mail he hadn't known about the grant but that, given China had become a surveillance state, he was in favour of a comprehensive survey of relationships between Beijing and all British universities.

Oxford University said Tencent had been approved as "an appropriate donor". The company itself denies receiving state intelligence funding and rejects accusations of wrongdoing.

The Telegraph reports that the BBC journalist, Samira Ahmed, is the front-runner to replace John Humphrys as the new host of Mastermind.

The paper says her appointment would be a vindication after she successfully won an equal pay claim against the BBC, on the grounds of sex discrimination.

Referring to the speculation around the role, the Telegraph's headline is "he's parted - so who'll finish at Mastermind?"