The Papers: PM's 'bleak' warning and markets in 'meltdown'

Daily Express front page

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Boris Johnson’s warning that many more families will “lose loved ones” from coronavirus makes the front of many of the papers. The Daily Express called it a “bleak but frank assessment of the emergency facing the country”.

Daily Mail front page

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The Daily Mail describes the prime minister’s warning as “chilling”, adding that it was one of the “bleakest messages delivered by any modern prime minister”.

Metro front page

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The Metro says the prime minister, who called it the “worst health crisis in a generation”, held back by delaying any shutting down of schools or banning public events.

Daily Telegraph front page

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The next steps announced by the PM amount to a “nuanced response”, according to the Daily Telegraph. The paper says the measures contrasted with those taken by other countries, which include school closures and flight bans.

Guardian front page

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The Guardian says medical, scientific and public health experts have criticised the UK’s approach. The papers says the measures put England at odds with neighbouring countries – highlighting the more stringent moves made by Scotland, which is banning gatherings of more than 500 people, and the Irish Republic and France – which are both closing all schools.

Daily Mirror front page

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“Is it enough?” is the headline in the Daily Mirror. It carries quotes from former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who says many people will be surprised and concerned “we are not moving sooner”.

i front page

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The i focuses on the new advice from the government that people with a new cough or fever should stay home for seven days.

The Times front page

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The FTSE 100 suffering its worst day in more than 30 years makes the front of the Times. It says experts are warning that the global economy could be tipped into recession by the coronavirus crisis.

Financial Times front page

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The United States’ central bank will inject trillions of dollars into the financial system in a bid to calm markets, reports the Financial Times. It says the markets “responded violently” to Donald Trump’s ban on travel from Europe to the US, with one expert calling it “the most expensive speech in history”.

Daily Star front page

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And away from the coronavirus outbreak, the Daily Star claims football legend Eric Cantona is being lined up for ITV’s I’m a Celebrity.

Most of the front pages focus on what the Daily Mail calls “one of the bleakest messages delivered by any modern prime minister”.

Boris Johnson’s warning during a Downing Street news conference – that many families will lose loved ones because of the coronavirus – is reflected in many of the headlines in some form or another.

The Daily Express believes that Mr Johnson’s candour “was a mark of his leadership”. It says people “should be grateful that the actions taken by his government and the excellent officials have bought Britain some time to prepare”.

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The website, Huffpost UK, also approves of the prime minister’s performance. It suggests that even his admirers would be the first to admit that he’s not normally associated with words like “sombre, serious and statesmanlike”. But it says he “had to be all three” – “and he was”.

Under the headline “let them lead”, the Sun argues that there is some comfort in knowing that the government is listening to its chief medical and scientific advisers – and following their advice on saving lives and minimising suffering.

It singles out critics of his decision not to ban flights or events, or close schools – saying that “their assumption that other countries’ far more draconian actions must be right” is baffling.

But the Mirror is less convinced about the strategy – asking on its front page “is it enough?” It quotes the former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, saying “many people will be surprised and concerned that we are not moving sooner”.

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The US President announced a travel ban from the Oval Office at the White House

The Financial Times accuses President Trump of – in its words – “pouring fuel on the flames of the coronavirus”, with his 30-day ban on travel to the US from most of Europe.

The FT believes it was this that led to Thursday’s record falls in global share prices. It goes on to say that, while the leader of the free world is traditionally a source of reassurance in times of crisis, Mr Trump is instead providing confusion.

The American website, Politico, reports that senior Trump aides are, in its words, “scrambling” to come up with a rescue plan for sectors of the economy “crumbling” because of the pandemic. These include airlines and hospitality.

One official is quoted as saying he’s reluctant to use what he calls “the b-word” – bailout – but warns that unless something is done the US aviation industry could be facing an “extinction moment”.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus

The Guardian’s website suggests that Premier League football clubs are preparing for the season to be suspended – after the Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, tested positive for Covid-19.

The paper says it’s spoken to an executive at one club who hasn’t ruled out the possibility of the whole season being made void.

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Finally, the Sun and the Daily Mirror both report that Greggs is to make a second attempt to set up a shop in Cornwall, despite opposition from local people.

The bakery chain’s first branch, in the town of Saltash, closed nine months after it opened, because of a lack of business. One local tells the Sun: “Pasty makers here have been making them for a long time and we make the real McCoy – that’s what Greggs is up against.”

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