image captionMost of the front pages focus on the news that the UK has announced zero coronavirus deaths within 28 days of a positive test for the first time since March 2020. The Daily Mirror says this has boosted hopes vaccines are preventing fatalities and illness. However, the paper also warns that cases “soared” by 3,165, amid growing calls for the easing of lockdown in England planned for 21 June to be delayed.
image captionThe Metro says the “welcome milestone” came as daily cases doubled in a month because of the Indian variant. Experts are warning the country is at a “pivotal moment”, while in Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has “slammed on the brakes” on plans to ease restrictions in much of the country.
image captionThe Times strikes a more optimistic tone, saying the news of zero deaths has raised “fresh hope” the remaining restrictions can be lifted in England on 21 June. However, the paper notes Covid deaths may nudge upwards in the coming weeks, especially because of reporting delays over the bank holiday weekend.
image captionThe Daily Express also interprets the announcement as a positive sign for 21 June – which it dubs “freedom day”. Its front page also features pictures of beachgoers enjoying the warm weather at Durdle Door in Dorset.
image captionThe Daily Mail argues the country has “nothing to fear from freedom”, saying the landmark of zero daily deaths has been hailed by many as “dramatic proof of the success of Britain’s vaccination programme”. The paper points out it is the first time in 447 days that officials have announced no coronavirus deaths.
image captionMeanwhile, the Telegraph says some senior Tory MPs are urging the prime minister to push ahead with lifting restrictions on 21 June. Ms Sturgeon’s decision to delay the next stage of easing lockdown in much of Scotland has raised concerns the UK government could follow her lead, the paper reports.
image captionThe Guardian leads with the government’s post-pandemic catch-up plan for children, which it says has been criticised as “inadequate” by teaching unions. Pupils will be offered an extra 100 million hours of tuition under the £1.4bn programme but the National Education Union said the funding committed was insufficient and the government’s own tsar has warned “more will be needed to meet the scale of the challenge”, the paper reports.
image captionThe Daily Star focuses on what it describes “a dollop of good news” that Heinz is to start making ketchup in the UK for the first time since 1999. The paper says the move will create 50 new jobs.