The Papers: UK 'must brace for virus' and NHS doctors bullied

Front page of the Guardian

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The UK must brace itself for more coronavirus cases after the first diagnosis in London, the Guardian warns. The paper points out various “fast-moving developments” over the last 24 hours as the virus continues to spread across the world.

Front page of the Financial Times

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A bleak photograph of a Wuhan supermarket’s bare shelves fills a page-top slot on the front of the Financial Times, to illustrate its article about accusations the Chinese authorities are under-reporting the number of cases of the disease. On Wednesday, China reported its lowest daily number of new cases – 2,015 – for two weeks.

Front page of the Metro

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The Metro’s coverage of coronavirus focuses instead on the 83 British people who will be free to leave quarantine today after two weeks in isolation. The group were quarantined at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside and have since all tested negative for the virus. “All clear,” reads the headline.

Front page of the Daily Mirror

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The rest of the newspapers feature a mixture of stories on their front pages. The Daily Mirror reports doctors are being “bullied to the brink” as they struggle to cope with hospitals hit by government cuts. The tabloid says it found doctors have been ridiculed for crying over patient deaths, for example – and are quitting “in droves” because of mistreatment.

Front page of the Times

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The prime minister is set to water down plans to curb social media firms amid concerns about a potential backlash, the Times reports. It says Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, wants Britain to be a world leader in technology – and there is therefore “nervousness” about the reaction of technology companies to any imposed restrictions.

Front page of the i

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The final decision on those sanctions has been pushed back until the spring, the i says. Its lead story points out the government may appoint Ofcom as a new internet watchdog. Some Tory MPs criticise the government’s “failure” to tackle harmful online content with the “urgency required”, it reports.

Front page of the Daily Star

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From Westminster to the weather, the Daily Star focuses on Storm Dennis – which it says will bring 72 hours of torrential rain and “carnage” as the country still reels from flooding and damage caused by last weekend’s Storm Ciara. The paper’s warning is stark: “Storm hell on way” is the headline.

Front page of the Daily Express

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Millions of people will get easier access to medicines from NHS staff after plans to slash red tape were announced, the front page story of the Daily Express says. It claims the move is part of a plan to ease pressure on hospitals and GP surgeries.

Front page of the Daily Telegraph

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Meanwhile the prime minister’s imminent cabinet reshuffle makes the lead in the Daily Telegraph. It claims the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is in the “line of fire” after he clashed with Downing Street over defence spending and Huawei. The paper says his deputy, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is likely to be promoted. The paper’s front page is dominated by a huge photograph of a smiling Duchess of Cambridge wrapped up warm during a visit to Aberdeen, with the caption “Grin up north”.

Front page of the Daily Mail

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Another royal story making front page news is described by the Daily Mail as a “deeply personal” one as the Duchess of Cornwall speaks of her “crusade for abused women” in an “emotional” interview. Camilla tells the tabloid she has friends who have suffered from domestic violence.

The Daily Mail says Boris Johnson is facing “serious questions” about the Caribbean holiday he took over the New Year – including about who paid for it.

Records published yesterday say the Tory party donor, David Ross, who co-founded the Carphone Warehouse chain, covered the £15,000 cost of the break in Mustique.

But a spokesman for Mr Ross tells the Mail he merely found the prime minister a villa to stay in, and did not pay for the trip.

The Independent website says Labour has asked the parliamentary commissioner for standards to investigate the source of the donation. Downing Street insists all transparency requirements have been followed.

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The prime minister went on holiday to St Vincent and the Grenadines between Boxing Day 2019 and 5 January 2020

There is anger that the government has postponed a decision on the sanctions that social media firms should face if they fail to remove harmful content.

In its editorial, the Times says the delay is not good enough. “Ministers should not be bullied”, the paper argues, “into letting tech companies shirk responsibility for the darker forces that lurk on their platforms”.

The Daily Mirror says the “penalties must be harsh to clean up the wild west web”.

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Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Home Secretary Priti Patel insists appropriate measures will be taken. “Everyone has the right to stay safe online”, she says, “and if tech companies abdicate this responsibility, it is up to the government to protect our citizens from harm.”

The Guardian reports on an idea to build two huge dams that would completely enclose the North Sea – with the aim of protecting around 25 million Europeans from rising sea levels.

A Dutch scientist, Sjoerd Groeskamp, says a 300-mile dyke between northern Scotland and western Norway, and a second 100-mile structure between south-west England and north-western France, are possible solutions to coastal flooding.

But others have questioned the huge cost – of up to £400bn – and the ways the dams could change the ecosystem of the North Sea and its fishing industry.

A regular round of golf could almost halve the risk of premature death, according to research appearing in several papers including the Daily Express and the Sun.

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The Sun reports on a study which suggests golf boosts wellbeing by busting stress

The American-led study of nearly 6,000 people, with an average age of 72, found that those who played at least once a month had a significantly lower mortality rate.

Experts say the “social nature and controlled pace” of golf allows people to continue playing into their later years, even after a heart attack or stroke.

Finally, the i says the musings of Aristotle are enjoying a revival at a state school in Surrey.

Kings College Guildford has made the ancient Greek philosopher a cornerstone of English lessons for Year 7 pupils – who now learn about ethos, pathos and logos rather than completing what the school says are “gimmicky” exercises, such as mock letters to practise their persuasive writing.

“There is a real desire for children to feel clever,” says the head teacher, Alastair McKenzie.

“We look at an 11-year-old and think they need to be reading books that are aimed at 11-year-olds. Actually, lots of kids don’t want that.”

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