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”.
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”.
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”.
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.
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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.
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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