Sunday Papers: Over-18’s vaccinated by June – ‘Quarantine hotels’
In today’s briefing update, we look at Sunday’s top stories. Most papers focus on vaccine rollout.
The recurring message in Sunday’s papers is on the Covid vaccination plans. The other stories include:
The Sun on Sunday says Brits are fed up to the back teeth with Covidiots breaking the rules.”
More than half of the people questioned in a YouGov poll for the paper felt the police were not being tough enough on those flouting lockdown measures.
Its opinion column states that “with the NHS at breaking point, the public is in no mood to tolerate anyone who plays with the nation’s health”.
There are details in the Sunday Times of how England rugby star Maro Itoje is trying to give disadvantaged pupils access to laptops, so they can get the most out of homeschooling.
It describes how the player – who is known by fans as “Super Maro” – has been inspired by the free school meals campaign led by the footballer, Marcus Rashford.
Itoje tells the paper: “The absolute priority right now is guaranteeing children have devices to learn.”
The Mail on Sunday reports that British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is facing a “revolt” by farmers in Iceland – because he has bought “large tracts of the country’s pristine wilderness”, in order to secure fishing rights to rivers there.
Below are our top picks of the Sunday Papers.
All over-18s could have jab ‘by the end of June’
The Sunday Telegraph says every adult in the country could be vaccinated by the end of June. It cites senior government figures as optimistic this target could be achieved, as they plan to vaccinate 4 to 5 million people a week within months. A source told the paper: “All over-18s by June – yes. It is delivery, delivery, delivery.” But the paper also reports ministers are concerned about hitting a target to vaccinate the top four priority groups by 15 February – due to vaccine manufacturing delays.
All arrivals to UK face hotel quarantine
The Sunday Times reports the opposite – saying ministers are growing increasingly optimistic the target will be reached. The paper claims officials have been told to prepare for the creation of quarantine hotels for arrivals to the country, and to use GPS and facial recognition technology to check that people are staying in isolation. It also says a cabinet deal has been done to approve a plan to begin lifting lockdown restrictions in early March. Areas will be moved to lower tiers once their death rate has fallen, hospital admissions have dropped, and some in the 50 to 70 year old age range have been vaccinated, it says.
We can see the way out
The Sunday Express says Britain is “nearly on the home straight” to beating coronavirus. It says Matt Hancock has urged a national effort to support the vaccination programme, unveiling a three-point action plan to do so. His “call to arms” aims to get people to help those over 80 who have yet to have their jab, encourage more people to sign up for Covid-19 research trials and to stay connected with the NHS app, it says. It comes as 10 further mass vaccination centres are due to open in England on Monday.
America points finger at China lab
The Mail on Sunday says the US claims that workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill with coronavirus-like symptoms in autumn 2019, and that the lab’s scientists were experimenting with a bat coronavirus similar to the one that causes Covid. It claims the Chinese government is under growing pressure to reveal the “true origins” of the pandemic. Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan in central China in late 2019. China has been saying for months that although Wuhan is where the first cluster of cases was detected, it is not necessarily where the virus originated. The WHO is investigating the origins of the pandemic.
Hancock blunder over 8,000 hospital beds
The Sunday People claims Matt Hancock cancelled contracts with private hospitals that would have given the NHS 8,000 extra beds. The Department of Health told the paper: “The NHS is working closely and flexibly with independent sector providers to secure more capacity to provide services including cancer surgery, diagnostics and treatments to help alleviate pressures on our acute hospitals across England through a combination of national and local deals.”
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