Newspaper headlines: Testing ‘disgrace’ and public’s ‘broken trust’

The Sunday Telegraph front page 31 May
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Testing and tracing was abandoned in the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic because health systems could “only cope with five cases a week”, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Citing newly-released papers from the government’s scientific advisory group Sage in February, the paper calls the decision “disastrous”. Meanwhile, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has written in the paper defending the government’s right to choose when and how it eases lockdown, following criticism that restrictions were being lifted too soon in England.
The Sunday People front page 31 May
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Also leading on the UK’s testing policy, the Sunday People calls test and trace “a national disgrace”. The paper reports that doctors “fear” a second coronavirus wave if the system is not “fixed”, while experts have reportedly hit out at Boris Johnson’s “bewildering blunders”.
The Observer front page 31 May
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Scientists and public health leaders have warned Mr Johnson that trust in the government’s coronavirus policy has been “broken” by Dominic Cummings’ actions, according to The Observer. The paper references a letter sent to No 10 on Friday in which 26 senior UK academics and health officials said the public’s faith has been “badly damaged”, both by Mr Cummings’ actions and “his failure to stand down or resign in the public interest”. The paper reports that an Observer polls shows a “slump” in Tory support. Also on the front page is the anger spreading across the US following the death of George Floyd, as protests continue.
The Mail on Sunday front page 31 May
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“You couldn’t make it up,” is the headline on the Mail on Sunday’s front page. The paper claims that a witness who alerted police to Mr Cummings’ movements allegedly broke lockdown rules himself. Former teacher Robin Lees denies that he broke restrictions, saying he complied with the relevant rules at the time, after he allegedly drove to pick up his student daughter from Berkshire earlier this month. The paper also claims that Tim Matthews, who said he saw Mr Cummings in Durham on 19 April, doctored the details on an app used by runners to record routes and times. The paper says Mr Matthews said he saw Mr Cummings, but cannot be certain when. The paper also reports that the PM has told Mr Cummings he is on his “last chance”.
The Sunday Express front page 31 May
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“Millions more get taste of freedom,” is the main story on the Sunday Express front page, ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday. But the paper quotes an expert who warns the public: “Don’t tear the pants out of it.” The US protests make the lead image on the front page, which features the silhouette of a person in front of a blaze, with the headline: “Trump’s America on the brink as race riots spread.”
The Sunday Mirror front page 31 May
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The Sunday Mirror leads with an exclusive interview with Happy Mondays star Bez, who says the easing of restrictions on Monday “can’t come soon enough”. The paper also carries a warning from scientists for people to keep their distance from each other.
The Sunday Times front page 31 May
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The lead story on the Sunday Times is a warning from the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to Mr Johnson that he should keep his promises if he wants to avoid the “double economic whammy” of a no-deal Brexit, coupled with the impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Barnier accuses the PM of “backsliding” on his commitments, speaking to the paper ahead of the fourth round of Brexit talks next week. The riots in the US also feature prominently on the front page, with the “plea for peace” from rapper Killer Mike, who urged protesters not to resort to violence.
The Daily Star Sunday front page 31 May
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The Daily Star Sunday leads its front page with claims that notorious UK prisoner Charles Bronson wants to have his brain “pickled in a museum” and his ashes scattered at high-security hospital Broadmoor. He wants his will in a tattoo and few people at his funeral as “the rest can see in me hell”, the paper reports Mr Bronson as saying.

Sunday’s papers are dominated by alleged failings in the UK’s test and trace policy, plus the impact Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip to County Durham has had on public confidence in the government as restrictions ease.

Going through newly-released papers from the government’s scientific advisory group, Sage, The Sunday Telegraph reveals that the government abandoned routine testing and contact tracing in March because Public Health England was struggling to keep up with demand.

The paper also runs an article by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, in a defence of the Prime Minister’s right to decide when and how the lockdown will end.

The paper says Sir Patrick’s intervention came as Boris Johnson was faced with a growing revolt from other scientists, who think he is easing restrictions too quickly.

The Observer leads on a letter from 26 scientists and public health experts, warning that public trust in the government’s coronavirus strategy has been “shattered” by the actions of Mr Cummings.

The letter – which was sent to No 10 on Friday – says the PM’s chief aide’s refusal to resign, and Mr Johnson’s refusal to sack him, “could put lives at risk” as the lockdown measures change this week, while expecting continued public compliance.

In what the paper describes as an “extraordinary intervention”, the group also casts doubt on the effectiveness of the government’s test and trace system – leaving the experts “very concerned” for the safety of the public.

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AFP

 

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Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip – and his failure to resign – has been criticised by leading scientists

The Mail on Sunday says Mr Johnson has issued a “stern rebuke” to his chief adviser, and has warned him he “will not tolerate another media firestorm”.

He has been given “one last chance” the paper says – and has been told to stay out of the public eye.

The paper also claims that former teacher Robin Lees, who alerted police to Mr Cummings’ movements, allegedly broke lockdown rules himself. Mr Lees denies this, saying he complied with the relevant rules at the time.

The Mail on Sunday claims that a man who said he saw Mr Cummings in Durham on 19 April, doctored the details on an app used by runners to record routes and times. The Mail reports Mr Matthews said he did see Mr Cummings, but cannot be certain when.

“Taste of freedom” is the headline in the Sunday Express – which leads on new advice for more than two million people shielding at home, who’ve been told they can go outside from Monday.

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EPA

 

In its editorial, the Sunday Mirror says the easing of restrictions for all is an “important milestone” in the UK’s recovery – but with “lives and livelihoods at risk”, the paper hopes the government has not let politics influence its decision.

A report in the Sunday Times says one in five A-level grades awarded to teenagers this summer could be inaccurate. Teachers will use an emergency marking system, after exams were cancelled because of coronavirus.

The paper says modelling for the regulator, Ofqual, suggests the system will favour “conformist” pupils and penalise “mavericks”, who do better when they sit exams than teachers predict.

The return of competitive sport is welcomed by many of the papers – with the Sunday Mirror suggesting a limited number of spectators could be allowed at the FA Cup Final at Wembley in August.

The Telegraph reveals that the first spectator sport to get under way will be pigeon racing.

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