Newspaper headlines: Rock ‘n’ roll hero dies and ‘lockdown decision day’

The Mail on Sunday front page 10 May

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The Mail on Sunday reveals Health Secretary Matt Hancock pleaded with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “give me a break” during what the paper calls a “furious bust-up” over his department’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. The Mail says further pressure has been heaped on the health secretary after more than 25 million goggles bought for the NHS were found to be unfit for purpose – but his spokesman says they were ordered by Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2009. A source close to Mr Hancock says he has the “total support” of No 10.

The Sunday Telegraph from 10 May

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The PM will ask the public to “Stay alert, control the virus, save lives” as he addresses the nation on Sunday evening over lockdown measures, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The new message will replace the government’s previous slogan of “Stay home, protect the NHS” as the PM unveils a new Covid-19 five-tier warning system with alerts ranging from level one (green) to level five (red). The paper’s picture lead is Little Richard, the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, who has died of bone cancer at the age of 87.

The Sunday Express front page 10 May

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“Virus threat still at critical” is the Sunday Express’s take ahead of “lockdown decision day”, where the paper expects Mr Johnson to loosen some of the restrictions – including opening garden centres and giving people more freedom to exercise. But he will urge the public to “show resolve” as he stops short of fully unlocking the UK as the NHS is still considered to be “in [the] danger zone”.

The Sunday Times front page 10 May

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A scientific advisor to the government has told the Sunday Times that more than 100,000 people could die with coronavirus in the UK by the end of the year if ministers relax the lockdown “too far and too fast”. The paper’s front page also pictures Little Richard, who it says “changed the course of music with hits such as Tutti Frutti and Good Golly, Miss Molly”.

The Sunday Mirror front 10 May

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The Sunday Mirror splashes with a warning from top scientists that the government’s new contact-tracing smartphone app – currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight – could fail to identify half of people infected with coronavirus. Experts have told the paper that by focusing on a fever and a cough – the two main symptoms of the virus – the app “ignores” 10 other signs of the disease.

The Observer front page 10 May

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Britain’s biggest trade unions including Unison, Unite, GMB and Usdaw have warned the prime minister they will not recommend a return to work for their three million members or support his back to work plans unless health and safety is “radically overhauled” by the government and employers, according to the Observer’s main story. In a letter to the paper, union leaders and the TUC say many of their members have already lost their lives “transporting people and goods, protecting the public and caring for the vulnerable”.

The Sunday People front 10 May

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“Care homes on the brink of collapse” is the headline of the Sunday People’s top story, which says 60,000 elderly people could be at risk during the coronavirus pandemic as 1,500 care firms face “financial ruin”.

The Daily Star on Sunday front page 10 May

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The Daily Star leads on revelations by TV comedian Leigh Francis – better known as his alter ego Keith Lemon. Little Richard is also featured on the front page, with the paper describing him as a rock ‘n’ roll hero.

The Sun on Sunday argues that Boris Johnson “needs to do some straight talking”, when he addresses the nation about the coronavirus on Sunday evening.

It believes that – as he announces the relaxation of some lockdown restrictions – the prime minister must “convince frightened Britons that we can safely overcome the pandemic’s brutal economic impact”.

There’s not much time left, the Sun says, “before the economy slides into meltdown”.

‘Stay alert’

Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph focuses on the new government coronavirus slogan, due to be officially announced by Boris Johnson later. It believes the message – “stay alert, control the virus, save lives” – is as much to do with persuading people that it is safe to return to work, as it is about stopping the infection spreading.

The Telegraph suggests the change in emphasis is even reflected in the colour scheme used for the new logo – a “slightly softer, paramedic-style yellow and green”, compared with the yellow and red of its predecessor.

But – in a letter to the Observer – the leaders of four of the UK’s biggest trade unions issue a warning to the government. The heads of Unison, Unite, the GMB and Usdaw say their more than three million members will not return to their jobs – until ministers can guarantee that adequate safety policies are in place. These include requiring employers to assess the risks and come up with measures to deal with them.

The Telegraph’s cartoonist, Matt, pokes fun at the idea of people having to observe a two-metre separation from others, as they go back to work. A pirate can be seen on the deck of his ship, forcing someone to walk the plank. “It’s nothing personal,” he is saying, “but we must observe social distancing in the workplace.”

Medics warn of fatal flaw in trace and track app” is the Sunday Mirror’s front-page headline. It quotes a doctor who it says was “consulted on the app”.

Doctor Nick Summerton says it relies on only two out of 12 possible symptoms of Covid-19 – a cough and a fever. He believes this means it will not diagnose all those who have the illness. The Department of Health says its response has been led by best scientific advice, and the app has been developed with expert guidance.

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The Mail on Sunday claims there’s been a “furious bust-up” between Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson. It’s spoken to an unnamed source, who says that when the prime minister questioned Mr Hancock about his department’s handling of the crisis, he replied: “That’s not fair – give me a break”. But a colleague of the health secretary tells the paper: “We’ve been working incredibly well with the PM and the whole No 10 team, and have had nothing but total support from them.”

There are fears in the Sunday People that more than a thousand care homes in the UK could go out of business, as a result of the pandemic. It tells how homes are under huge pressure, partly because they are having to pay agency staff to replace sick workers – and also due to the soaring cost of protective equipment.

The Sunday Times suggests the Queen is to be absent from public life “for months”. It says that because of the coronavirus, she is expected to observe what it describes as “the longest absence from royal duties in her 68-year reign”.

The Times reports the Queen will remain at Windsor Castle indefinitely – and Buckingham Palace will be closed to the public throughout the summer “for what is thought to be the first time in 27 years”.

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Several of the front pages feature photographs of Little Richard – who has died at the age of 87.

The Sunday Mirror describes him as a “legend” – who changed the face of popular music, after rapidly rising to fame in the 1950s.

It goes on to say that “his trademark screams, outrageous dance moves and stage costumes set him apart from others of the era”.

The Sunday Express calls Little Richard “the founding father of rock” – who broke the boundaries with his androgynous stage persona and flamboyant style.

The headline in the Sunday Times plays on the improvised opening to one of his biggest hits, Tutti Frutti: “a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop, a lop-bam… GONE.”

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