If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing – on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.
PM says lockdown freedom on June 21 not guaranteed
Boris Johnson has warned there is no guarantee of freedom from Covid restrictions on June 21 as Tory MPs urged him to accelerate his timetable out of lockdown. The Prime Minister said he was “very optimistic” that Step 4 of the Government roadmap, which marks an end to legal limits on social contact and gatherings, could be implemented on the June date tentatively earmarked for it. However, he stressed that caution was needed. Judith Woods sets out the reasons she is not banking on June 21 being the day when our freedom returns. Mr Johnson also sparked controversy today after he told secondary school pupils that journalists are “always abusing people”, when asked for his careers advice. See his off-guard remarks by scrolling down to the post at 12.39pm.
One group of people who will be following Mr Johnson’s announcements closely in the weeks ahead will be those planning a wedding. Aside from the odd guest list squabble over which cousins to invite, planning a wedding should be fun and exciting. But in the pandemic, couples have been left worrying about face masks rather than what time the DJ should start. Here is a guide to the rules on weddings and Rachael Sigee details how to plan your big day in the pandemic. Penny Walker outlines what not to say to someone who has had their wedding cancelled by Covid.
Scotland to see ‘substantial reopening’ from April 26
Scotland will return to a tiered system from the last week in April, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as she confirmed her updated roadmap out of lockdown. The First Minister told MSPs the five-level system should see the entire country enter Level 4 and drop down to Level 3, which would see sectors such as non-essential retail reopen from April 26. Read on for a guide to Scotland’s roadmap to exiting lockdown. Of course, this all comes as the SNP grapples with allegations from its former leader Alex Salmond about a plot to imprison him. Tom Harris says it reveals a lot about the people who run Scotland while Henry Hill analyses why Mrs Sturgeon’s rival roadmap epitomises why devolution was a mistake.
Summer holiday bookings surge by up to 600pc
Airlines and travel firms are experiencing a surge in demand following Boris Johnson’s roadmap for how coronavirus restrictions will be eased. In the hours after the Prime Minister’s announcement, easyJet’s chief executive said demand for flights was up 337pc and holidays up 630pc compared to last week. That is despite the roadmap out of lockdown maintaining a ban on international travel until at least mid-May. Here is a reminder of the rules, which will leave Spain, Portugal and Greece guessing about the return of Brits to their beaches. Tom Rees analyses why a second cruel summer awaits Europe’s ‘Club Med’ economies.
At a glance: More coronavirus headlines
Also in the news: Today’s other headlines
Prince Harry and Meghan | Nearly half of British adults believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have let the Royal family down, according to the latest polling. The survey by Savanta ComRes found the same proportion of the public (45 per cent) believe they were right to step down as working Royals, with 43 per cent thinking less of the couple now than they did last year. Camilla Tominey has the details.
Around the world: ‘Vaccine passports’ launch in Israel
It hardly takes a moment for 28-year-old Israeli Jalal Jamal to present his “vaccine passport” and slip into the gym. After a quick check, the amateur bodybuilder is allowed through for a long-awaited session on the weights. As Britons once more dream of returning to their favourite activities following the release of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, this tiny gesture could soon become part of normal daily life. James Rothwell explains in this video how the app works.
‘It’s Channel 4’s job to cheer people up’