Newspaper headlines: Jab beats variant and BBC review to be widened

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People being vaccinatedImage source, Reuters

"On course for freedom day," declares the Sunday Express, as it leads on the results of trials which suggest the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs are effective against the Covid variant first detected in India.

Prof Robert Dingwall, a sociologist who advises the government, says the findings "remove the last justification" for delaying the full easing of restrictions in England beyond 21 June.

But Number 10 has told the Sunday Telegraph it will have to wait until the end of this week, once officials have seen the latest hospital admissions data, to determine if the country is completely "out of the woods".

Many of the editorials welcome the encouraging vaccine data.

"Great jab job" is the message from the Sunday Mirror. It says that in the struggle against the virus "science has triumphed again".

But the paper warns there can be "no let up" in the delivery of the vaccination programme.

There's a similar message from the Sun on Sunday. Its editorial says that so long as everyone gets their jabs, there should be no need for any wobbling over the lifting of all restrictions next month.

The Sunday Times leads on Dominic Cummings' criticisms of Boris Johnson's response to the pandemic.

The paper says officials are concerned the former chief adviser to the prime minister will tell MPs this week that Mr Johnson missed key Covid meetings because he was working on a biography of William Shakespeare, the proceeds from which he needed to fund his divorce.

The Sunday Telegraph suggests some questions MPs may want to ask Mr Cummings. These include what actions did he undertake to review the UK's pandemic plans when he entered government in July 2019?

And why did he update an old blog last April, which some say was an attempt to appear more knowledgeable about the threat of coronaviruses?

Martin Bashir breaks his silence for the first time since an independent inquiry concluded he used deception to secure his 1995 Panorama exclusive with Diana, Princess of Wales.

The journalist tells the Sunday Times that once he has fully recovered from a heart attack he wants to focus on charity work.

The paper is unconvinced. "Broken man who can't quite admit he wronged Diana" is its headline.

One royal biographer in the Sun on Sunday says it's "extraordinary" he hasn't held his hands up and issued a proper apology "without the buts".

Meanwhile, sources inside the government have told the Observer that the mid-term review of the BBC Charter next year could be "beefed up" and look at a range of structural changes.

The Sun on Sunday says the scandal has seen Mr Johnson revive plans to appoint a "real heavyweight" to hold the corporation to account at Ofcom. Those under consideration reportedly include former newspaper editors Paul Dacre and Lord Moore.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Martin Bashir told the Sunday Times that once he has fully recovered from a heart attack he wants to focus on charity work

And finally... the Daily Star Sunday reports on the decision by staff at Sea Life aquarium in Blackpool to play rock music to get fish used to noisy visitors again, following months of lockdown.

The music was played through special underwater speakers.

The story has led the Star to speculate on what aquatic-themed tracks were used. Its suggestions include "Prawn in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen and Elton John and Kiki Dee's hit "Don't Go Breaking My Carp".