The Front Page: Boris to outline a lockdown exit plan; hotel quarantine cut short; Kate on holocaust
Covid-19’s devastating impact on London was laid bare today, with some of the city’s most deprived boroughs being the hardest hit in the country.
Newham, in East London, has the highest death rate from the coronavirus in England and Wales, according to official figures for March to December, with London as a whole the second worst affected region.
In spite of these appalling figures, and the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths across the UK that was hit yesterday, Boris Johnson will today reveal that work is starting on a roadmap to “carefully and cautiously” release Britain from lockdown.
The Prime Minister will set out for the first time how the vaccination roll-out and other key milestones could unlock many Covid-19 restrictions over the coming months. No targets or dates will be give yet, but the roadmap will show how restrictions could be lifted if certain goals – such as a fall in community infections – are achieved.
Meanwhile, Britons facing 10 days of hotel quarantine after going abroad may now be allowed out up to three days early, under a test-and-release scheme. While a final decision is yet to be made, ministers are said to be keen to let travellers take tests on day five, potentially allowing those who prove negative to go home on days seven or eight. Those fearing the full 10 days of boredom in a budget hotel may not be reassured by the news that the Home Office is yet to decide on whether Netflix and other entertainment will be part of the contract.
Final Covid story for now – the boss of AstraZeneca has said he’s confident Britain will be able to hit its vaccine targets. Speaking to Italian newspaper La Republica, Pascal Soriot also backed the UK’s decision to delay second doses, saying: “I have no doubt that the UK has made the right choice.”
The Duchess of Cambridge was visibly moved as she spoke to two Holocaust survivors who told her of the horrors they experienced.
Kate’s video call with friends Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who met in a concentration cap in 1944, was organised to mark Holocaust Memorial Day today, and highlighted the importance of remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust, during which six million Jews were murdered.
And finally, stars including Stephen Fry and Ellie Goulding have shown their backing on social media for the Evening Standard’s Young London SOS campaign, to highlight the crisis in child and adolescent mental health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
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