image captionMonday’s papers are dominated by the prime minister’s soon-to-be-unveiled road map out of lockdown for England. The Daily Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson will announce that the “stay at home” rule will be scrapped next month, with outdoor sports resuming and families allowed to meet in gardens. The paper understands that groups of six, or two households, will be able to meet outside from 29 March. The Telegraph says that the road map document is nearly 60 pages long and outlines four stages for reopening which roughly correspond to the months of March, April, May and June.
image caption“The 4 steps to freedom” is the headline on the front of Metro. The paper reports that Mr Johnson has insisted that the easing of lockdown restrictions will be measured against the infection rate, the speed of the vaccine rollout, its effectiveness and the risk of mutant strains.
image captionThe Guardian reports that social contact with loved ones will take precedence for the prime minister over the reopening of shops and hospitality. The paper quotes one government source who has described the more cautious approach as a “trade-off” to allow people to see friends and family earlier if parts of the economy remain closed.
image captionThe Times adds that Downing Street has said that Mr Johnson’s priorities in easing lockdown reflect his concern that the pandemic has been particularly hard on children and those unable to see loved ones. Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that Britain should follow Australia in requiring Facebook to pay for news content that it hosts.
image captionAll schools will open in England on 8 March, the i’s front page says, as classrooms begin a phased return in Scotland and Wales from Monday. Meanwhile, a poll carried out for the paper has reportedly revealed that the public would rather the chancellor gave priority to supporting the public than balancing the books.
image captionThe Daily Mail calls it the “slow march to freedom”, saying that, despite restrictions lifting for some parts of society, the “agony” continues for shops, pubs and salons. Such sectors are likely to remain closed until mid-April at the earliest, the paper reports. Families will also not be allowed to take holidays over the Easter weekend, it adds.
image captionThe Daily Mirror has labelled the prime minister’s plan a “return to the great outdoors”. The paper also carries warnings from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said that Mr Johnson must “follow the science”.
image captionThe route out of lockdown in England also features on the front page of the Daily Express. The paper focuses on Mr Johnson’s “cautious” approach to lifting measures.
image captionAnd the Sun celebrates the expected relaxation of restrictions, with the words “march to freedom” dominating the front page.
image captionElsewhere, HSBC is ramping up its efforts to “pivot to Asia”, the Financial Times reports, with the bank moving top executives from London to Hong Kong and scrapping its US retail banking operation. The paper says that the move comes amid rising tensions between the West and China, which has left the bank – founded in Hong Kong and headquartered in the UK – in a precarious position.
image captionFinally, the Daily Star opts for a tongue-in-cheek cover story, saying the prime minister’s dog Dilyn upset his former aide Dominic Cummings by “humping his leg”.