The Daily Mail says hopes of getting the UK moving again have been dramatically boosted by two testing breakthroughs.
The paper welcomes the trialling of a new on-the-spot coronavirus test, and the planned rollout of 10 million antibody tests from next week, asking: “Could this be the biggest virus hope we’ve had?”
The Daily Mirror describes the antibody tests as a “game-changer” that will boost understanding of the spread of the disease and help vital front-line staff return to work.
The Times reports on the possible introduction of “immunity forms” to allow people who’ve recovered from coronavirus to resume more activities and be freed from social distancing. But the paper sounds a note of caution, saying it will be months before it’s known whether people who’ve had the virus retain their immunity.
The majority of the cabinet wants Boris Johnson to embark on a major push to return the country to work next month, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be among ministers who are concerned about long-term scarring to the economy, caused by the coronavirus lockdown. One tells the paper that scientists are inevitably more risk-averse, and that there don’t seem to have been second peaks in countries where restrictions have been relaxed.
The Guardian leads on what it says is the first major U-turn of Boris Johnson’s premiership – the scrapping of the surcharge, paid by NHS staff and care workers from outside the EU towards the health service.
The paper says the reversal is being viewed as a victory for the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, who raised the issue on Wednesday, prompting pressure on the prime minister from within the Conservative ranks.
The leader column in the Sun praises Mr Johnson, saying he’s shown strong leadership by changing course in the midst of a fast-moving crisis.
The Financial Times highlights China’s plans to impose new security laws on Hong Kong. Bypassing the territory’s legislature would be a show of legal force, according to the paper, and one likely to fuel further pro-democracy protests.
Opposition politicians in Hong Kong warn the South China Morning Post that the “one country two systems” model could be nearing its end. An editorial in the state-run China Daily dismisses the criticism, saying those speaking ill of the new laws simply have an axe to grind against the Chinese mainland.
Sir Keir Starmer has written an article for the Independent website, calling for an urgent package of mental health support for NHS workers and care staff, including treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sir Keir describes the impact on the nation’s mental health as the “hidden cost” of the coronavirus crisis, and urges the government to provide immediate help for people self-isolating, as well as those with pre-existing mental health conditions.
And the Daily Telegraph reports that dolphins on a stretch of Australian coastline have reacted to a decline in human visitors, by showering those who do stop by with gifts, in return for fish of course.
Volunteers on the Cooloola Coast say bottles, coral and sponges are among the offerings, which are turning up 10 at a time since the closure of a popular feeding centre. Researchers quoted by the paper say the creatures probably don’t miss humans per se – just the routine, and a free meal.