image captionThe front pages are dominated by reaction to the new three-tier Covid alert level system for England, which sees the Liverpool City Region under the toughest restrictions. “Back to the bad old days”, declares the Daily Mail, which says 22 million people in England now face stricter local measures. But in what the paper describes as a “grim warning”, chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said he did not think the most severe level of restrictions would be enough and it was likely “significantly more” will be required in the worst-affected areas.
image captionThe Daily Star takes a similar view, saying “we’re back to square one”, 204 days after the UK first entered lockdown. The country is now at a “tipping point” and the fourth worst in the world in terms of the number of cases, the paper says.
image captionThe UK is facing a “new phase” in its battle with the virus, according to the i. The government is “torn” between the science and the economic and social challenge, the paper says, below a picture of the prime minister sandwiched between his chief medical officer and chancellor.
image caption“Mersey mission” is the headline on the front of the Metro, alongside a grim-faced picture of the prime minister. The paper says the restrictions placed on Liverpool, which is the only region so far to be placed in the “very high” alert tier, amount to a “virtual lockdown”, with pubs and bars forced to close and households stopped from mixing anywhere on Merseyside.
image captionBoris Johnson is urging other council leaders across northern England to “step up and agree draconian lockdown measures”, following the new restrictions for Liverpool, the Times reports. The prime minister also hinted at tougher national action to come, saying he did not want to impose a complete lockdown “right now” but the figures on infections and hospital admissions were “flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet”.
image captionThe Daily Express also focuses on warnings that further action may be needed. The prime minister told regional leaders that failing to act now would be “unforgivable” and that the nation faces a “crucial phase in our fight”, the paper reports.
image captionHowever, the Guardian says Mr Johnson is facing “anger” from northern leaders over the new alert system, including the level of financial support available. Greater Manchester and the North East “fought off” attempts to close their hospitality sectors, insisting ministers had not provided scientific evidence and the measures were proving counter-productive, the paper adds.
image captionThe government comes in for strong criticism on the front page of the Daily Mirror, which claims after “eight months of sacrifice” it still has “no proper plan, no proper test and trace and no proper support for workers”. “It all ends in tiers,” is the paper’s verdict.
image captionThe prime minister is also facing a backlash from his own party over the move towards tougher measures, the Financial Times reports. A dozen Conservative MPs voted against his “rule of six” this month and one senior Tory predicted more could vote against the additional restrictions on Tuesday, the paper adds.
image captionMeanwhile, the Telegraph says Mr Johnson has “overruled” the government’s scientific advisers, who pressed for national lockdown measures such as stopping all household mixing and closing all pubs. Papers from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), released on Monday night, show that the body called for immediate national measures at the end of last month, the paper reports.