Newspaper headlines: NHS ‘kindness army’ and Charles test ‘queue jump’

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Newspaper headlines: NHS ‘kindness army’ and Charles test ‘queue jump’


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The Daily Express dubs the 500,000 people signing up to volunteer to help the NHS tackle coronavirus as a “kindness army”. It says the vast number of sign-ups is an “incredible display of public spirit”. The paper’s splash image shows the Queen holding her weekly meeting with the prime minister over the phone from her base in Windsor.

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The Daily Mirror describes the more than half a million volunteers as an “army of kindhearts”. It says the “selfless members of the public” will join the 11,000 former medics who have agreed to return to the NHS to help out the health service.

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“At last some good news,” the Daily Mail says. It labels the volunteers “heroes” and says the “overwhelming” response made Wednesday the “first real day of optimism” since coronavirus began to spread in the UK.

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It’s not all good news in the Metro, though. The paper points out that while the volunteer numbers were a “welcome ray of light”, it came as nurses complained that they are having to share protective face masks with colleagues due to a shortage.

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And “furious NHS workers” are demanding to know why celebrities and royalty are “jumping the queue” to be tested for coronavirus when frontline medical staff are still not widely being checked for it, the Daily Star says. In a thinly veiled dig at Prince Charles being tested for the virus, the headline reads: “We are not amused.”

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The Financial Times leads on the same story, claiming the prime minister is facing mounting pressure to deliver coronavirus tests for NHS staff on the frontline. The government is aiming to reach 25,000 tests a day but not until late April, the report adds.

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But mass testing kits for the virus could be available via Amazon and Boots within weeks, the Daily Telegraph says. The paper says it would be a “gamechanger” – as widespread testing could mean key public services and parts of the economy would be able to reopen within weeks, it claims.

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“Hopes rise for virus test” is the headline on the front page of the Times, while the 500,000 voluntary sign-ups are also given prominence. The paper says the only thing in the way of a home finger-prick test being delivered by Amazon is for the test to pass tests this week to “show that it works”.

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Meanwhile Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce that self-employed workers will be paid up to 80% of their recent earnings to help them through the virus crisis, the Guardian reports. The taxpayer will fund the move, the paper adds. It says Mr Sunak has come under pressure to help self-employed people after unveiling a major support package for employees.

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The i leads on the same story – pointing out that the 80% wage support would mirror the payment given to staff employees placed on temporary leave. It quotes Boris Johnson as saying the “complex working arrangements” of the self-employed “made it harder to come up with support”.

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