image captionThe Financial Times is just one of Saturday’s papers that leads with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s warning that the variant of coronavirus that emerged in the UK may be more deadly. But it says the “ominous note struck” by Mr Johnson and Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, about the state of Britain’s epidemic during a news conference was “accompanied by more encouraging data” suggesting the national lockdown is working. It points out that the R number has fallen to between 0.8 and 1.0.
image captionA healthcare worker in PPE stares out at readers from the front page of the Daily Telegraph. It says Mr Johnson’s warning “overshadowed” the announcement of the fall in the R rate and that the data on the variant has “cast doubt over plans for lifting lockdown”.
image captionThe Guardian says scientists are asking for tighter controls as early evidence about the UK variant risks putting the country “back to square one”. It adds that Mr Johnson “struck an extremely cautious note” when asked during the Downing Street briefing about a return to normality.
image captionThe Daily Mirror runs the words “feeling the strain” across its front page – but it’s not clear whether it’s referring to the country or the prime minister himself, who is pictured in the bottom-right. The paper also refers to claims that vaccine supplies in northern England are reportedly being diverted to other parts of the country, which the vaccines minister has denied.
image captionThe i newspaper, however, leads on a more positive note. It reports that the UK is giving out “400,000 jabs a day” and that, in total, 5.4 million people have been vaccinated. “Lockdown does appear to be working against the new strain,” it says, adding that the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said there’s growing evidence that vaccines will still work.
image captionThe Daily Mail asks its readers to help it “get computers to schoolkids”. It’s launching a campaign to help up to a million children it says are struggling to learn while schools are closed to most pupils because they don’t have access to laptops at home.
image captionAnd the Daily Star reports that High Street shops are “planning on setting fire to some of their stuff” after a “Brexit internet red tape row”. “Crikey!” it says.