The Papers: Testing ‘disgrace’ and public’s ‘broken trust’

Image caption Testing and tracing was abandoned in the earlier stages of the coronavirus pandemic because health systems could “only cope with five cases a week”, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Citing newly-released papers from the government’s scientific advisory group Sage in February, the paper calls the decision “disastrous”. Meanwhile, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has written in the paper defending the government’s right to choose when and how it eases lockdown, following criticism that restrictions were being lifted too soon in England.
Image caption Also leading on the UK’s testing policy, the Sunday People calls test and trace “a national disgrace”. The paper reports that doctors “fear” a second coronavirus wave if the system is not “fixed”, while experts have reportedly hit out at Boris Johnson’s “bewildering blunders”.
Image caption Scientists and public health leaders have warned Mr Johnson that trust in the government’s coronavirus policy has been “broken” by Dominic Cummings’ actions, according to The Observer. The paper references a letter sent to No 10 on Friday in which 26 senior UK academics and health officials said the public’s faith has been “badly damaged”, both by Mr Cummings’ actions and “his failure to stand down or resign in the public interest”. The paper reports that an Observer polls shows a “slump” in Tory support. Also on the front page is the anger spreading across the US following the death of George Floyd, as protests continue.
Image caption “You couldn’t make it up,” is the headline on the Mail on Sunday’s front page. The paper claims that a witness who alerted police to Mr Cummings’ movements allegedly broke lockdown rules himself. Former teacher Robin Lees denies that he broke restrictions, saying he complied with the relevant rules at the time, after he allegedly drove to pick up his student daughter from Berkshire earlier this month. The paper also claims that Tim Matthews, who said he saw Mr Cummings in Durham on 19 April, doctored the details on an app used by runners to record routes and times. Mr Matthews said he saw Mr Cummings, but cannot be certain when. The paper also reports that the PM has told Mr Cummings he is on his “last chance”.
Image caption “Millions more get taste of freedom,” is the main story on the Sunday Express front page, ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday. But the paper quotes an expert who warns the public: “Don’t tear the pants out of it.” The US protests make the lead image on the front page, which features the silhouette of a person in front of a blaze, with the headline: “Trump’s America on the brink as race riots spread.”
Image caption The Sunday Mirror leads with an exclusive interview with Happy Mondays star Bez, who says the easing of restrictions on Monday “can’t come soon enough”. The paper also carries a warning from scientists for people to keep their distance from each other.
Image caption The lead story on the Sunday Times is a warning from the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to Mr Johnson that he should keep his promises if he wants to avoid the “double economic whammy” of a no-deal Brexit, coupled with the impact from the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Barnier accuses the PM of “backsliding” on his commitments, speaking to the paper ahead of the fourth round of Brexit talks next week. The riots in the US also feature prominently on the front page, with the “plea for peace” from rapper Killer Mike, who urged protesters not to resort to violence.
Image caption The Daily Star Sunday leads its front page with claims that notorious UK prisoner Charles Bronson wants to have his brain “pickled in a museum” and his ashes scattered at high-security hospital Broadmoor. He wants his will in a tattoo and few people at his funeral as “the rest can see in me hell”, the paper reports Mr Bronson as saying.

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