Newspaper headlines: Alarm over Europe's new wave and PM gets Covid jab

By BBC News

  • Published
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Image source, Pool/Reuters

Many of the front pages picture Prime Minister Boris Johnson, shirt sleeve rolled up, receiving his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

"Just the Jab," declares the Daily Express. The Daily Mail says the "very proud PM" was part of a record day, during which more than 647,000 Britons were vaccinated. In all, the Mail says, half of all adults in England have had their first dose.

The Sun calls it "two shots in the arm" - as it reveals that 9,000 more pubs will be open for "outdoor boozing" next month. The Daily Telegraph explains that rules are being relaxed to allow venues to set up outdoor seating and marquees for the whole summer.

The Guardian reports on its front page that billionaire tax exiles, Saudi royals and the British National Party are what it calls "the unlikely recipients of furlough millions." The paper says it cross-referenced government data with Companies House filings.

The shadow chancellor, Annelise Dodds, tells the Guardian "the mask is slipping with this chancellor... he's wasting billions of pounds of public money." A Treasury spokesperson said: "we've been clear the scheme should be used in the spirit in which it was intended."

According to the Financial Times, the government has drawn up contingency plans to run Britain's third biggest steel company, Liberty Steel, on a temporary basis if it collapses.

Ministers are concerned about the firm's owners, GFG Alliance, after its main lender, Greensill Capital, went into administration. The paper explains that sensitivity over Liberty is high because many of its sites are in marginal constituencies, such as Hartlepool, where a by-election is due to be held in May.

Senior government sources have told the Times that the Home Secretary Priti Patel, is unlikely to extend the contract of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick. Britain's most senior officer has faced controversy over the way the vigil for Sarah Everard was policed.

The Guardian suggests that some chief constables felt "hung out to dry" when Ms Patel criticised officers, having made clear that a ban on gatherings should be enforced. A Whitehall source tells the paper "pinning women to the floor...was an independent operational decision" by the police.

Image source, Reuters

Many papers report on plans for a new regiment of special operations soldiers, which the Daily Express headlines: "Drone Ranger... tech will help elite new unit." Armed troops are pictured training in Dorset, next to a drone and a robot-controlled vehicle.

The paper explains that the rangers will be modelled on the US Green Berets and will be able to work alongside foreign militia. The chief of defence staff, General Sir Nick Carter, tells the Daily Mirror that the rangers might have typically been used in the recent operation against IS in northern Iraq.

And both the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph report that Oscar nominees have been told that they must turn up in person for the ceremony in the US next month.

British actors, Olivia Colman, Sacha Baren Cohen and Sir Anthony Hopkins have been invited to join what has been being described as an "intimate in-person event at Union station in LA."

They have been warned that Zoom has been ruled out. The Daily Telegraph suggests the organisers want to "reinject some glamour."