“At last some good news,” is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail as the paper is one of many to praise the more than 500,000 people who have signed up to become NHS volunteers. It adds that the recruitment rate equates to five people per second.
The Daily Express describes the volunteers as the “people’s army of kindness” and a group who have shown an “incredible display of public spirit”.
The Daily Mirror adds that the volunteers are “selfless” and carries a quote from NHS England calling the response “absolutely astonishing”.
The Times reports that many doctors and nurses are being forced to turn to DIY safety gear, because of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Despite assurances from Health Secretary Matt Hancock that millions of pieces of PPE have been sent out in recent days, one doctor reported to the British Medical Association that she was forced to use a pair of safety goggles from her nine-year-old daughter’s science party bag.
The Guardian adds that the NHS is “on the brink” with paramedics only getting access to four masks per shift, GPs going on the internet to buy scrubs, and midwives having to make do with goggles from a DIY store.
“Mass testing kits a gamechanger,” is the headline accompanying the main story on the front of the Daily Telegraph. It reports that a pin prick test – which can tell if someone is immune to the virus – could be available via Amazon or Boots within weeks.
Officials want priority for the kits to be given to doctors and nurses so they can return to work as soon as possible, amid fears the peak of the pandemic could be coming at Easter. The Guardian says the tests can produce results within 10 to 15 minutes – but also carries quotes from Boots urging customers not to turn up yet in the hope of getting a test.
The Sun urges the government to roll out the antibody tests “as quickly as possible”. Highlighting the cases of South Korea and Germany, it says that it is “crystal clear” that the only way out of the coronavirus “mess” is to “test, test and test some more”.
The Daily Mirror asks why Boris Johnson has been “slow to act” expanding Britain’s testing capabilities. And the Daily Star questions why Prince Charles was afforded a test despite displaying mild symptoms and there being a reported shortage for NHS staff.
Stephen Glover uses his column in the Mail to question the price the young will have to pay once the UK is through the pandemic.
He says the government’s wage assurances will mean “years of austerity” that will make the last decade look like a “minor irritant”.
He asks: “Is it right that in order to save the lives of mostly elderly people the future lives of millions should be devastated?”
The Guardian’s Martin Kettle suggests that the crisis has forced the right to accept that the state is a “guarantor” in a period of emergency – and that it has an “irreducible responsibility” to the vulnerable.
The idea that a national government is “dangerous” is examined by Robert Saunders in the online edition of the New Statesman. He says that at times of crisis, there is a “romantic allure” of politicians “sinking their petty differences and standing shoulder-to-shoulder”. He goes on to say that bringing opposition parties into government reduces the chance to probe and contest No 10’s decisions.
Under the headline “Ground Siro,” the Sun has what it calls an exclusive about how a football match is likely to have triggered the spread of the virus across Europe.
An immunologist, Professor Francesco Le Foche, tells the paper that the match between Atalanta and Valencia at San Siro stadium in Milan last month could have been one of the “major triggers” for the virus. He says that thousands of people who were all in close proximity “shouting and hugging” could have “favoured viral reciprocation”.
In its editorial column, the Times considers what it calls a “hair-raising” question: how will the nation’s locks be affected by the lockdown? The paper says it will be fascinating to see whether men opt for the taking-care-of-business buzz cut or for the post-apocalypse, Game of Thrones shaggy look.
Finally, it asks, while many wives will administer a competent trim to their husband – how many will risk reversing the roles?