Sobering plea from prime minister dominates front pages as UK comes to terms with wholesale change to daily life
Unprecedented measures to fight the spread of coronavirus in the UK reverberate across the front pages today, with many newspapers giving prominence to a picture of Boris Johnson’s “your country needs you” gesture.
The Telegraph says simply: “Life put on hold” above a stormy looking prime minister. It highlights the latest quarantine measures and says a third of the population has been warned to avoid social contact this weekend. Every news in brief item relates to the virus too. The Matt cartoon makes a grim reference to the looming need for those over 70 to isolate themselves.
The Guardian has “PM tells Britain: stay in to stop march of coronavirus”, with particular mention of Johnson’s comment that the nation is approaching the moment of fastest growth in cases. Chingford gets a spot on the front page – shoppers there have been forming long queues for goods.
The Sun puts a “closed” sign on a map of Britain. It advises readers to avoid the pub, other people, and the office and notes that Mothers Day and the Grand National are both off.
The Daily Mail says “Britain shuts up shop” as the country faces the biggest shutdown of daily life since the second world war. It reports Johnson accepted the measures were “draconian” but would save lives.
The Times features a huge picture of a near-deserted Waterloo station at rush hour alongside the headline: “Britain in lockdown”. It carries an extraordinary first paragraph: “Normal life was put on hold for up to a year last night after Boris Johnson was told that it was the only way to save a quarter of a million lives”.
In a separate panel it looks ahead to Rishi Sunak’s expected business bailout on Wednesday, in addition to last week’s £12bn budget stimulus.
The Daily Mirror carries the Kitchener-esque image of Johnson and the headline: “Stay safe”. It says the lockdown will last all summer and is “unparalleled in human history”. It includes a puzzles pullout to see readers through the isolation period.
Metro says “Time to get anti-social” and features a composite of Johnson’s gestures during his press conference on Monday.
The Daily Express opts for a more inspirational message with the headline: “We can do it together”. Its message across the top says: “PM rallies Britons to defeat coronavirus”.
The FT takes a more broad approach to its splash, with the headline: “Global stocks take fresh pummelling as Fed action fails to calm investors”. The PM’s announcement is lower down the page: “Johnson urges isolation for risk groups as virus poised for rapid growth phase”.