image captionThe Daily Express looks ahead to Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing new local coronavirus lockdown rules for England. It says the “drastic new shutdown” aims to “save the NHS” and “halt the second wave” of the pandemic. But it says there are “fears of economic meltdown”.
image captionIt’s “lockdown D-Day”, according to the Daily Mirror. The paper reports that 85% of people who responded to a poll it conducted are “petrified” about their jobs and the future of the economy ahead of the prime minister’s statement.
image captionThe Daily Mail says MPs and council leaders have pleaded with Mr Johnson not to bring “more pain and damage” to parts of the country with four-week local lockdowns that “will shatter the economy”.
image captionBut the Guardian leads with warnings from No 10 that the UK is at a “critical juncture” when it comes to controlling the spread of the virus. The paper says the prime minister’s statement will come after a “frantic weekend” of discussions with local leaders, who - according to its sources - have been assured that restaurants could remain open until 22:00 in Liverpool.
image captionMr Johnson is calling “last orders for the North”, according to the Daily Telegraph. It’s not all doom and gloom, though - below a picture of a ballet dancer in London, the paper reports that £257m in government funding has been announced to help Britain’s arts sector.
image captionDancers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet grace the front page of the Times. Its top story though, also looks ahead to the restrictions - especially the strictest of the three tiers. Ministers have “decided to focus on closing ‘drinking-led’ establishments while allowing restaurants to remain open,” a cabinet source tells the paper. Although it says there has been “confusion” after “reports claimed that restaurants may be closed with only takeaway meals allowed”.
image captionThe Metro says the country is in “locktober”.”Here we go again,” it tells readers - above an image of police in Liverpool making sure people obey the 22:00 curfew.
image captionThe i focuses on a “travel ban” being introduced for areas under lockdown, with a “crackdown on movement in and out of Covid hotspots”.
image captionA picture of the health secretary edited to wear a clown get-up greets readers of the Daily Star. Comparing him to Coco the Clown, the paper reports that Matt Hancock “faces a probe into claims he broke his own 10pm bar curfew”. Over the weekend, a spokesman for the health secretary said: ‘No rules have been broken”.
The looming new restrictions for England to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson provide the lead for most of Monday’s papers.
“Here we go again,” the Metro sighs wearily, as it reports that Mr Johnson is preparing to thrust millions of people back into lockdown.
The Liverpool Echo’s website understands that local leaders have pushed for them to stay open.
According to the Guardian however, there are reports that they will be ordered to close except for takeaways, despite government assurances that they could remain open until 22:00.
“Johnson calls last orders for the north”, is the Daily Telegraph’s headline. The paper says the new measures will have a “sunset” clause under which they will be reviewed monthly, but could last for six months.
The Daily Mail highlights the concerns of northern MPs and mayors that the measures will “shatter” the economy. “No more pain and damage, Prime Minister”, is the paper’s headline.
The Times reports that conversations are continuing about restrictions in other areas including Greater Manchester and Lancashire. It says local politicians are strongly opposed to any closures in the hospitality sector. The second wave of coronavirus has opened up divisions “between Mr Johnson and his own backbenchers, between Westminster and local government, between the north and the south, between Scotland and England and between young and old”, it says.
Leo McKinstry writes in the Daily Express that there’s a “crucial difference” between the first wave in the spring and today: “the mood of national consensus has broken down” and “optimism is now corroded by exhaustion”. The country is “increasingly scarred by divisions between regions and classes”, he says.
In the view of the Financial Times, the “biggest change since the first lockdown is the erosion of trust - between national and local administrations, and between government and the people”. “If the country is again to bring the virus to heel as the days become darker and colder, that trust, most of all, needs to be restored,” it says.
Several papers are sceptical about the benefits of closing down pubs and restaurants. “Where’s the concrete proof that it will work?” the Sun asks.
In the Mail’s view, lockdowns have so far failed to control infections. “What will actually change?” it asks. The paper favours a strategy of shielding the vulnerable while the rest of the country can keep “ticking along”. So does the Telegraph. It demands to know whether Mr Johnson is “just going to continue tightening the screw” if the current strategy fails to suppress the virus - “or does he have a Plan B”?
Some papers have pictures of revellers in city centres having what the Sun calls a “last chance” weekend of partying before the new Covid crackdown. It says thousands piled into pubs until the 22:00 closure, then drank on outside. According to the Mail, crowds also crammed into shopping centres in the North as they tried to get Christmas gifts early in case of a further lockdown.
According to the Independent website, police in parts of Britain are handing out coronavirus fines 80 times more frequently than others, with people in some of the worst-hit areas receiving the fewest penalties. It has carried out an analysis of official figures which it says shows “significant differences between police forces”, with some having issued more than 1,000 fines and others less than 100.
In sport, the proposals by Liverpool and Manchester United for a major overhaul of English football lead the back pages. The Daily Express says football has “descended into civil war” over the plans for a major shift of power to the top flight’s big six teams and handing a share of television revenue to English Football League clubs. It says they are being seen as an “opportunistic attempt to grab power in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis”.
The Times thinks the plans appear already doomed to failure because of opposition from other top-flight clubs, the Premier League and the government.
For Matthew Dunn in the Express, the “Big Picture” - as football’s new blueprint is called - is “too gruesome for any gallery wall” and “needs to be hidden in the attic”.
The Mail reports that US President Donald Trump considered “ripping open his shirt to reveal the Superman logo underneath” as he left hospital last week - to prove that he had beaten coronavirus. The paper - quoting the New York Times - says the president had the idea of initially appearing “frail” as the world’s media filmed him coming out of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before exposing the Superman logo, just like Clark Kent in the films. However, the plan didn’t go ahead and he instead saluted from the White House balcony when he returned home.
Finally, two “magnet hunters” who spend their weekends hurling powerful magnets in ropes into rivers and canals to extract metal objects, have made some surprising finds. The i reports that within four hours of trawling Regent’s Canal in London, Nigel Lamford and Jim Norton had extracted “three motorbikes, five pushbikes, three shopping trolleys, a pen knife and gold jewellery”. Mr Lamford tells the paper he gives everything to museums - “because it’s history, it needs preserving”.