image captionLike many of Wednesday’s papers, the Metro leads with the “travel crackdown” in England. It says travellers who arrive from high-risk countries will have to spend £1,750 isolating for 10 days in a hotel. Those who lie about where they come from face up to 10 years in jail, the newspaper says. If they try to escape, they face fines of up to £10,000.
image captionThe Financial Times reports that from Monday all travellers coming to England will need to take two Covid-19 tests on the second and eighth day after arriving. “We must strengthen our defences,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock is quoted as telling MPs. The newspaper says the measure comes amid growing concern over the threat from new coronavirus mutations.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph says Tory MPs and travel chiefs have criticised the sentence of up to 10 years for those who hide visits to “red list” destinations to avoid quarantine – as announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. In an article for the paper, former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption says Mr Hancock’s reality has “finally snapped”. But Mr Hancock said the restrictions were needed to combat the new virus variants from South Africa and Brazil, the newspaper adds.
image caption“New Covid variants ‘are under control'” is the i’s headline. It says a mutation of the highly transmissible UK strain – the Bristol variant – has raised concerns over the effectiveness of vaccines. Public Health England says the latest results from surge testing show that cases of dangerous new strains are largely static, the i adds.
image caption“Amazing single jab stats could end lock early”, says the Sun. The newspaper reports that official data shows just one Covid jab offers two-thirds protection against the virus. The findings are due out in days, it says, and will show the Pfizer vaccine starts to work in as little as two weeks, while the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab offers similar protection.
image captionThe Guardian says the strict travel rules have prompted dismay from Conservative backbenchers who questioned the introduction of jail sentences and fines without a vote or debate in the Commons. The newspaper reports the Scottish government will require all people arriving on all direct international flights to enter quarantine hotels from Monday, not just those from “red list” countries. Meanwhile, the newspaper says ministers are set to announce billions of pounds in extra support to address the cladding crisis.
image captionThe Times says up to £5bn worth of grants and loans will be offered to strip cladding from hundreds of thousands of unsafe flats. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick will introduce a fund that will include grants to remove cladding from tower blocks that are higher than 18m, the newspaper says. Only loans will be offered to smaller buildings, it adds, which could lead to opposition from Tory MPs.
image captionThe Daily Mirror reports that a hospital trust is charging NHS workers more than £500 a year to park there. It says Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust blamed rising demand.
image caption“‘Kick in the teeth’ for NHS heroes”, is the Daily Express’s headline. It says NHS staff who have worked flat out during the Covid crisis are being penalised by the relaunch of hospital parking charges. Union bosses told the newspaper the charges will unfairly affect staff who are too frightened to use public transport.
image captionThe Daily Mail leads on a interview with Lady Brittan, the widow of former home secretary Leon Brittan. The newspaper says she is speaking out to attack a “culture of cover-up” at Scotland Yard. Lord Brittan was among notable figures falsely accused of child sexual abuse and murder, the Daily Mail reports.
image captionThe Daily Star’s front page shows a picture of what Piers Morgan “would look like as PM” beamed on the side of the Houses of Parliament.