Several front pages raise questions about the government’s plans to open English primary schools for some pupils on 1 June.
The Times suggests the date has been “thrown into doubt” by a senior scientific adviser, who has indicated that the track and trace system should first be in place.
A Downing Street clarification that this is the earliest schools should open, leads the Times to speculate whether the government is “softening in the face of a revolt”.
It’s a suggestion echoed by the Guardian, which claims that up to 1,500 primary schools in England will remain shut while at least 18 councils refuse to sanction the plans.
The debate over the government’s early response to the coronavirus outbreak prompts the i headline: “Blame game begins.”
The i suggests that a government scientist has said that it was a lack of resources that led to the decision to stop community testing in March.
In its editorial, the Times examines the role of Public Health England, which has been accused of limiting testing to its own laboratories. The paper suggests its structure should be reformed, and questions whether it is up to running the contact tracing scheme.
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While much attention has been focused on reviving the economy, a letter in the Financial Times urges readers to consider how nature conservation should be at the heart of any recovery.
The joint letter – signed by the UK heads of Greenpeace, the WWF and the RSPB and the environment minister Lord Goldsmith – suggests that after the Great Depression in the US, three million people were employed planting trees, building flood barriers and trails in national parks. It urges that such a commitment is urgently needed now.
The Times and Mail Online both report that the National Trust faces a loss of £200m this year as it plans to keep its properties closed until the autumn.
The head of the trust says there’s been a huge rise in cancelled memberships. She warns that there are likely to be redundancies, as it appears impossible to access the trust’s reserves, which are subject to restrictions.
As the new law comes into force in England making all adults potential organ donors unless they opt out, the Daily Mirror marks the event on its front page with a special appeal.
Twelve-year-old heart transplant recipient Max Johnson, after whom the legislation is known along with his life saving donor, Keira, says: “You did it for me… now do it for Ethan.” Ethan is a 14-month-old baby who has been waiting for a heart since August and, like others waiting for donors, has found coronavirus has increased the shortages.
Concerns are raised in The Times about the British travel industry. Its editorial suggests that the government’s position on the new quarantine requirement is a muddle.
On its front page the Daily Telegraph reports on calls for the creation of an extra bank holiday in October and a call by self-catering accommodation owners to be allowed to open before July.
The need for a holiday is apparently so great, according to the Daily Star, that bookings for campsites in the UK are up by 500%.