Newspaper headlines: UK ‘under house arrest’ as coronavirus measures ‘end freedom’

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Newspaper headlines: UK ‘under house arrest’ as coronavirus measures ‘end freedom’


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The Daily Star plays with the well-known wartime image of a pointing Lord Kitchener and the words “your country needs you” – but with the added message “to naff off home”. It comes after further strict measures were announced by the prime minister to tackle the spread of the coronavirus in the UK. From Monday evening people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from work.

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“Historic”, “bombshell”, “astonishing” and “unprecedented” are among the ways the Daily Mail describes the prime minister’s new measures. The paper says the measures will probably be enforced for “far longer” than the initial three-week period outlined by the PM.

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For the Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson’s national address marks the “end of freedom”. It says his “sombre” televised announcement was a shock but came after scientific advisers told him the NHS would collapse unless tougher measures were brought in immediately.

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The Sun describes Mr Johnson’s move as putting the UK “under virtual house arrest for at least three weeks”. The tabloid reports that police fines for people not complying with the new measures could be as high as £1,000.

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The Financial Times describes the move as “bringing down the shutters” on Britain. The paper says Boris Johnson’s televised announcement of “draconian measures” came after days of mounting pressure for tougher action. Emergency legislation, expected to be enacted by Thursday night, would allow fines to be levied on people breaking the rules, the paper adds.

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The i says Mr Johnson “finally” restricted people’s movements after ministers “threatened mutiny”. The paper summarises the very few reasons people are allowed to leave their homes – to buy food, to exercise, to help vulnerable people, and to travel to work if they cannot work from home.

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An image of a packed London Underground train on the front page of the Metro is “proof”, the paper says, that the previous social distancing measures “weren’t enough”. The paper describes the new measures as a “dramatic escalation” of the UK’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus. The paper draws attention to Mr Johnson’s message that the virus is the “biggest threat this country has seen for decades”.

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Mr Johnson’s announcement that the UK is facing a “national emergency” came after days of being accused of “sending mixed messages about what the public should do”, the Guardian says. But the PM “escalated his language” to urge people to comply with the new measures, the paper adds. “You must stay at home,” he said in his Downing Street broadcast to the nation.

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The move is a “near full lockdown of Britain,” the Times says. In a departure from coronavirus, the paper also reports on Alex Salmond being cleared of sex assaulting nine women while he was Scotland’s first minister.

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